How that’s title for entering the fray?
In case you haven’t heard, Josh Duggar — who got into loads of trouble for past inappropriate sexual behavior with young girls — has now been discovered to be a paid client of Ashley Madison, an online dating site for extramarital affairs. A single Google search shows this is a topic people are tuning into, and I’m sure the opinions range all over the place.
In case you want to know mine, my heart always turns to the children in these situations. Duggar’s behavior is absolutely indefensible, and I don’t care so much about him as I do the four children deeply affected by his choices and whatever happens next. They are the biggest victims, and I simply cannot imagine what it would be to go forth in life with this news story about your father haunting your future.
But enough about Duggar.
What I want to address is what I believe to be the bigger issue: Why does a site like Ashley Madison even exist? Why do men sign up for it? What are they looking for? Why can’t they just stay at home with their wives and be happy?
From what I’ve learned, the Ashley Madison client base shows a wide range of husband types who signed up for this “service.”
The Curious. Some husbands signed up for an account because they toyed with the idea of having sex with someone other than their wife. Maybe one day, they finally sat down, opened up an account, and paid the fee.
And that was that. They never acted on it, but they were curious. Maybe they still are.
My guess is many are husbands unhappy with the sexual intimacy in their marriage and wishing things were better. In a weak moment, they wondered about getting sexual satisfaction elsewhere, but something prevented them from following through. I hope that something includes moral conscience, commitment to the marriage, and an understanding that the consequences of even a one-night stand are too great for your relationship.
If you’re curious about how an affair would feel, it would likely feel great . . . for a few minutes. But it would betray your spouse, damage your marriage, and cost your integrity. It isn’t worth it!
The Desperate. The founder of Ashley Madison claims to have never cheated on his own wife; however, he confessed, “[I]f I woke up beside my wife and it was the 200th day we hadn’t been intimate with one another and it looked like nothing would change, I would cheat so fast.” While I seriously want to slap this guy (although I think God’s got it covered), there’s something to what he’s saying: Some of the husbands came to the site because they were in sexless or nearly sexless marriages. They felt desperate.
They are still 100% wrong for pursuing sex outside of marriage, but I sympathize with the deep pain of those in sexless marriages. When I hear from such husbands contemplating an affair, what typically comes across is that they really don’t want to. What they long for is the women they’ve chosen, their own wives, to provide the sexual and emotional intimacy they need.
Yet the pain of neglect runs deep, and they feel at the end of the their rope. Here comes a website offering some relief, and . . . Well, it’s not a happy ending. I guarantee that. Instead, those husbands should continue to love, pray, and work toward something better for their marriage. Adultery is not the answer.
The Philanderer. Yes, some men are just cheaters. They’re in marriages with wives who are good to them and have sex with them, and they cheat anyway.
This is one reason why I don’t like the term “affair-proof” — often used to describe how you can make your marriage so great, it will never experience an affair. Listen, you can do a lot to make a marriage affair-resistant, but your spouse still has free will and can choose to cheat.
I hate saying this, because it sounds like these marriages are beyond hope. I don’t think that’s true, because spouses can change with repentance, humility, and godly instruction. But some people just cheat, and building a better marriage is only one part of the equation to change this dynamic — the philandering spouse must admit their folly and desire a different path. At times what helps a cheater get on the right path . . . is getting caught.
I pray all those who take such cavalier attitudes toward their wives and families have light shed on their activities so they can recognize the heartbreak they are causing and turn from their damaging ways. In other words, wake up — your actions are hurting yourself and others.
The Thrill-Seeker. I briefly considered calling this category pervert, but the activities these husbands are pursuing aren’t all perverted. Sites like Ashley Madison ask what specific sexual activities interest a client. I read a few examples, and I believe some husbands are having sex in their own marriage, but they want to do things their wives won’t do. Whether it’s oral sex or a super-kinky what-is-he-thinking? scenario, they’re seeking a thrill they aren’t getting and keep desiring.
Why do they want it so much? They’ve been sold a lie. I’m all over freshening things up in the bedroom and introducing more fun to the sexual intimacy in your marriage, but these guys believe they’re missing out if they don’t get some specific physical activity. Like if they never get a “blow job,” they’ve been shortchanged.
Such lies are promoted even more by the prevalence of porn — that everything would be great in your bedroom if only you had a woman willing to do whatever you wanted.
My advice? Stop watching porn and stop thinking sex is all about the physical. Spend more time building a loving relationship with your wife and deepening intimacy in your marriage bed. Maybe you’ll never get to do Item #12 on your Sexual Wish List, but maybe someday she’ll want to or maybe you’ll realize that item wasn’t so important after all when you’re enjoying the fullness of sexual intimacy with the woman you love.
What does the existence of Ashley Madison say about husbands? That while some are simply cheaters, there are many husbands unhappy with their sexual intimacy and looking for answers.
The answers are not in that website. They are in God’s Word, nurturing your own marriage, and waiting, praying, hoping, and working for something better, real, and beautiful.