Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Author Addresses Infidelity in "Greener Grass Syndrome"

  • Cindy O'Halloran AgapePress
  • 2005 3 Sep
Author Addresses Infidelity in "Greener Grass Syndrome"

Title:  "Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome:  How to Grow Affair-Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage"
Author:  Nancy C. Anderson
Publisher:  Kregel

Nancy C. Anderson's book "Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome:  How to Grow Affair-Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage" (Kregel, 2004) is absolutely wonderful. With courage, Anderson tells of the journey that sent her on a wayward path to infidelity that nearly ended her marriage.

"The reason I tell my story is to hopefully prevent it from becoming someone else's story," says Anderson. "I am willing to say, I've been to the other side of the fence and I can tell you that the grass is NOT greener. It's full of weeds and thorns ... it's a lie." Now, with God's help, Anderson is able to warn others with practical knowledge and offers tips on avoiding the greener grass syndrome.

When Anderson had her affair, she and her husband Ron were lukewarm Christians who were not attending church. That lack of accountability led to her self-deceptive thinking. "I didn't get Godly council and I took advice from non-Christians. I believed the world's lie: 'You deserve to be happy.'  I sought feelings over truth and selfishness over self-control. I took God off the throne of my life and lived to please myself."

Her book, "Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome," is more than a book on infidelity. Anderson describes how to plant, water, trim and keep the rodents out by planting "hedges" around one's marriage. She worked with other words like guarding and boundaries but kept seeing pictures of hedges everywhere she went. "I got a free calendar from my realtor," she recalls, "and guess what was on the front – a photo of a beautiful English garden surrounded by a perfectly groomed hedge."

Anderson has turned the word H.E.D.G.E.S. into an acronym of action words:

  • Hearing – Listening to your spouse is the key to unlocking their heart. People who have committed adultery often say, "My wife/husband never listened to me – they never heard me." "The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made both of them" (Proverbs 20:12).
  • Encouraging – Experience the teamwork-building power of a helping hand and a compliment. Focus on the positive qualities of your mate. "So then, let us aim for harmony ... and try to build each other up" (Romans 14:19).
  • Dating – Build a life that celebrates marriage. Have fun, laugh and play together. "Let your fountains be blessed. Rejoice with the wife [husband] of your youth" (Proverbs 5:18).
  • Guarding –  Establish safeguards for your relationship. Set clear boundaries that neither of you should cross. "Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do" (Proverbs 4:23).
  • Educating – Study your mate as if he or she was a textbook. Seek to understand and appreciate your mate's unique qualities. "Dwell with your wife according to knowledge" (1 Peter 3:7).
  • Satisfying – Meet each other's needs. Ask your spouse what he or she needs from you, and then do those things. "You shall be like a well-watered garden" (Isaiah 58:11).

Anderson believes we all have to be proactive in our marriages, always rebuilding, remodeling, and reconnecting as life brings challenges that can divide a couple.

Nancy and her husband speak to many couples, so she often hears about fabulous ways that the Lord has healed the marriages of others. Anderson believes that the most common method of healing the Lord seems to use is when a couple makes a conscious decision to stay together and invite the Lord into their marriage. It's then they are able to forgive each other, and their love begins to grow again.

She believes another important factor in creating and maintaining a successful marriage is friendship. "I not only love my husband, I like him." says Anderson. "Our relationship is not just based on passion and romance, it's deeper than that. The infatuation factor may come and go during the years, but our friendship, trust and devotion are stronger and more stable than our emotions."

Now, with Christ as the foundation of their marriage and their church as the social and spiritual base, she and her husband stand firm and accountable to other Christians.

Because preventing an affair is always better than trying to recover from one, "Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome" shows where a marriage may be vulnerable and gives creative ways to make a good marriage great. It's definitely for the couple that desires to grow together as man and wife.

Visit Nancy Anderson's Web site at

© 2005 AgapePress.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.