Tag Archives: Adultery

Q&A with J: “My Husband Had a Kissing Affair”

I’ve talked about marital infidelity on my blog before (like here and here), but what if your husband didn’t go all the way? What if it was kissing? Check out today’s reader question:

Please help! my husband had a “kissing affair” with a bar tramp over two years ago. I know it didn’t go any further because of everything I know now. he said she was just some cheap easy tramp who paid attention to him at the time. he’s never had contact again and I know he still lives with the guilt. he’s done everything right, I just can’t stand the thought of him kissing me now! … I gag at the thought of letting him stick his tongue down my throat now and I want to move on! HOW can I do this?

blog post title + man's neck and shirt collar with lipstick stain

First off, referring to this woman as a “cheap easy tramp” is total rationalization. Maybe that’s exactly what she was, but it sounds to me like he was easy in that moment too. And it’s all too common for men to claim they were seduced by a loose woman and thus blame her.

It doesn’t matter whether the woman was a dignified colleague he met on a business trip or a woman playing kissing roulette with a bar full of men, your husband needs to own that he decided what to do with his own lips.

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

You can’t make him change his tune, but you can change yours. Stop referring to that woman as a “bar tramp.” Not only do you not know her, and any terrible backstory she might have that made her walk into a bar and kiss a stranger that night, you shouldn’t enable his efforts to transfer blame to someone else.

Is that harsh? I don’t think so. Because while I can honestly say that some guys I dated in my premarital promiscuous past took advantage of me, my sin is entirely my own. I choose to participate, and that’s wholly on me. Until we accept responsibility for our sin, we cannot confess it all and receive full forgiveness available through Christ.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst”  (1 Timothy 1:15).

Now to the primary issue: He cheated on you.

And if someone is reading this and saying, “It’s just kissing,” you’re apparently not alone. In a survey of 5000 people across the United Kingdom, 14% of people didn’t consider passionately kissing someone other than your partner to be infidelity. Although that included 9% of women and a whopping 19% of men.

Now these weren’t specifically married people, but those percentages are astounding. Would you really feel it wasn’t cheating if you came home to find your beloved lip-locked with someone else on your couch? Even if you didn’t consider it adultery per se, it’s clearly a betrayal and on the road to Nothing Good.

But if you turn those stats around, four out of five men and nine out of ten women — not necessarily married — think kissing is cheating. I believe God agrees.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15, NLT).

However, the husband here recognizes his guilt and “he’s done everything right.” What would those right things be? Here’s a noncomprehensive list:

  • Confess the betrayal
  • Take full responsibility for your choices and sin
  • Apologize for the hurt you’ve caused
  • Take steps to keep it from ever happening again
  • Answer your spouse’s questions
  • Reassure your mate daily of your commitment
  • Give your spouse space and time to return to intimacy with you

So now what? He’s done what he should, and it’s your turn. How do you get past your husband tangling tongues with anyone but you?!

I sat here for a moment thinking how I’d feel if Spock kissed someone else. My teeth clenched, my throat tightened, and I had a sick feeling in my stomach. Shock, sadness, and anger rose up in me. And that’s just from imagining a betrayal that’s never happened.

So my heart goes out to you, reader. I can only imagine, but it is a painful thought.

That said, marriage is far too important to toss out or tear down because of this one confessed, forgiven sin. Beyond forgiveness is reconciliation, and that’s where the struggle is now. So let’s talk about actions to help you move beyond what happened and into deeper intimacy with your husband.

 1. Talk through the event.

Sometimes for closure, we need to understand what happened, why it happened, and what we can do to prevent it from happening again. Ask your husband to join you in calm conversations about why he felt tempted, how his actions make you feel, what you can both do to be there more fully for one another. Discuss practical ways to prevent this temptation from arising again. Does he need to swear off bars? Do you need to go on business trips with him? Should he have a male accountability partner?

Remember as you ask him questions about what happened that he cannot un-tell you what he tells you. You likely don’t need those details that would merely give you a clearer picture to run through your mind. Make sure you what you ask about relates to the goal of getting you past this event and building a stronger marriage.

These discussions will go far better if you keep your cool while still expressing your emotions, concerns, and needs. And be willing to listen to his end and see what you can do to help him avoid any such temptation in the future.

2. Take charge of the kissing.

When you reintroduce physical intimacy after an affair, it’s important to let the betrayed spouse set the pace. You may need to take a break from time to time, breathe through the anxiety, and regather your thoughts before continuing. Having you initiate the kissing can also help you view this as something you want as well as determining how you want it.

Moreover, letting you be in charge shows that your husband respects your feelings — he understands this is difficult and he’s willing to do what it takes to be with you. Will this slower pace be difficult for your husband? Yeah. But it’s worthwhile.

You can start with kissing him in other places besides his mouth, like his hands or his jaw line. As you kiss, remember what you enjoy about being with him, touching him, feeling close to him. Take time to explore, as if you’re there again for the first time. When you feel more comfortable, move to his lips, kissing him in the way you most enjoy. If you need to pause, do so. But then try to get back to it and push past the discomfort. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Train your thoughts.

This is what is really comes down to. Because every time you kiss him now, you can’t get that other woman and what he did with her out of your mind. It’s hovering there in your brain, in your gut, in your heart. But somehow, you’ve got to stop thinking about that night and focus instead on your love for your husband, his love for you, and the kissing you’re doing.

First, recognize that you’re not on opposite sides. Yes, your husband betrayed you, but since he confessed and recommitted to you, your position going forward is a united team fighting against any enemy that wants to attack your marriage. You are one flesh, and “therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9).

Second, use self-talk while you’re kissing to alter your perspective in real-time. Remind yourself that your husband is here with you, that he is committed to your relationship, that you enjoy kissing him. Memorize some scriptures you can use as mantras in your head to fight back when thoughts of the kissing affair pop into your head. For example:

  • [Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
  • We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b).
  • I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10).
  • Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Recognize that it won’t be smooth the first make-out session you have. But what tends to happen over time is new thoughts and new experiences replace old ones and the bad memory loses its foothold in your mind. As that scripture says above, love indeed covers a multitude of sins.

4. Remember how God treats you.

Here’s one last thing that has helped me get over a lot of stuff: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). When I struggle with forgiveness or reconciliation, I think about all the ways I’ve hurt my Heavenly Father, and yet He takes me back every time. Yes, I must be repentant, but He is always faithful to show me grace. That perspective helps me give grace to others.

So how do you over your husband’s kissing affair? Slowly, intentionally, prayerfully. But it will happen, if you both commit to reviving your physical affection and intimacy.

Same pic as above, sized for Pinterest

Q&A with J: Can God Heal Any Marriage after Infidelity?

The emotional pain caused by a spouse’s infidelity is hard to imagine. Plenty of marriages do manage, however, to get past the heartbreak and build a better, more intimate marriage than before. Today’s question is on that particular subject. Here’s what the reader says:

I found out 3 days ago my husband had an affair… After he had planned a weekend away [secretly] this past weekend..I assumed this was the only time He had wandered. We have been having issues for a long time. Our relationships with God haven’t been good. I feel unsure if this relationship will work. We have two small kids. I don’t feel in love. He has had an issue with porn and was talking to girls online in chat rooms…. I don’t want to leave him but I wonder if I can truly heal being so close. I feel like maybe my insecurities are also keeping me…. He cheated with my neighbor.

I know God can restore our marriage and make it better than before but I’m hesitant. I’ve had sex with him since the affair unknowingly…. I just don’t know how I could have sex with him after knowing this.

blog post title + craft heart stitched up in the middle

What struck me about this email and why I wanted to address it is that, yes, I agree that God can absolutely restore a marriage and make it better than before. But what this email lacks is any indication of what this husband is doing to keep and improve the marriage.

What we do know is:

  • He secretly planned a rendezvous with his affair partner.
  • His affair partner was their neighbor.
  • The marriage has had problems for a long time.
  • He’s had an issue with porn.
  • He’s visited internet chat rooms to talk to other women.
  • He had sex with his wife after having sex with his affair partner.

Affairs rarely happen in short order. There are steps spouse take as they head into marital infidelity, which I cover in this post. You can probably see from the list above how this all might have come together: a troubled marriage, a man without solid sexual boundaries (porn, chat rooms), a woman nearby (neighbor) who tempted the husband, and a string of lies and secrecy.

It’s not just that the husband slept with another woman. It’s that he planned it, he lied about it, and he tried to have his cake and eat it too (sex with both women). I can’t sugarcoat this — his actions were horrible.

Now if you discover your spouse has cheated and still had sex with you, you should both get tested for STDs. It’s not unreasonable to ask your spouse to willingly get tested. (In fact, if either spouse has had other partners, even before marriage, they should get tested and share results with their spouse.)

But the next step is this question: Do you both want to have this marriage?

Here’s where I’m not sure about this couple. This husband watched porn, went to chat rooms, lied to his wife, cheated on her, and not one iota of her explanation said that he was sorry, cut off contact with his affair partner, begged her to stay, etc. How did she even find out about the adultery? Did he fess up (a good signal) or got caught and couldn’t wiggle out of it?

In answer to “Can God Heal Any Marriage after Infidelity?” … yes, if you’re both willing to make an effort. But if the cheater feels zero remorse for what they did, what do you do then?

If the cheater feels zero remorse for what they did, what do you do then? #marriage Click To Tweet

Now, there could be some who don’t feel bad about the affair, but they could be motivated to work on the marriage by other issues — losing the mate they’ve partnered with in other ways, being separated from their kids, having concern about the financial cost. If he’s still willing to come to the table, there’s definitely hope. Jesus often took people who came to Him for selfish reasons and turned them toward the truth.

Dealing with all the issues brought up by this question, here are some resources to check out:

Intimacy After an Affair. This post addresses how you really could sleep with your husband after an affair, assuming certain criteria are present.

Rebuilding Trust in the Bedroom. This post gives specifics on how to rebuild the necessary trust for sexual intimacy.

Book Review: Healing from Infidelity by Michele Weiner-Davis. Michele’s book talks about how a couple can actually put a marriage back together, and she includes a chapter on what you can do if your spouse is not willing to engage. That said, part of her prescription is an area with which I disagree: That is, she offers one path of just letting your husband go his way while you hold things together and wait for the affair to fall apart, and that is not a biblical approach. Rather, as Christians we don’t enable sin but rather confront it and look for ways to bring a straying person back into the fold. With that in mind, you can still find some wisdom in this book for your situation. Just keep your Christian thinking cap on. 😉

Redeeming Marriages. Jack and Janet write this blog about strengthening your marriage, but they come from a background where, at different times, both spouses cheated. Yet, they fought their way back to a godly, happy marriage. You can read their story here. You might also want to check out their post on What If You’re the Only One Holding On?

Counseling. Yes, counseling. If I were you, I’d be on the phone to a Christian counseling center figuring out how soon hubby and I could sit down for a session. And if we meshed well with that counselor, we’d continue. If we didn’t, I’d try another and even another, until I found someone who could work with both of us to rebuild our relationship. Good counseling is a great way to reestablish a relationship, as God often uses others to assist our restoration.

You can indeed rebuild a marriage and intimacy from a situation that seems hopeless. But if I were you, I’d be hesitant too. Because I’d want to know that my spouse is willing to put forth some effort to make things better. If not today, then within a certain amount of time after I’ve invested everything I can into improving our marriage.

I’m praying for you.

Q&A with J: Boundaries in the Bedroom

Today’s question, the first reader question of 2016, is from a wife whose husband has a sexual addiction. When she wrote to me, things were not going well.

Not sure where to start … we’ve been married for 16 years and have experienced sexual addiction for all of it. I tried covering up his sin (don’t air your dirty laundry, don’t talk badly about your husband, etc) , tried to “be better.” I’m sure you’ve heard this long list and other ladies could add much to it as well.

Well, this time was it! I’d had it. He did start counseling about 4 months ago (which he has since quit) and is active in his SAA group with a sponsor (whom I’ve never met – is that weird or is it just me?). His counselor met with both of us back then and advised us not to have sexual contact for 3 months. Not that I’m ready yet – I’m still trying to set some health boundaries in our marriage with all of this (and starting from ZERO (boundaries?  What are those?)) but, I also have no idea how to re-engage. He won’t talk to me for more than about 4-5 minutes a WEEK unless it’s work related.  Yes, we work together too. His conversation is always “well, what do you want to know?” I feel like I’m asking a 14 year old how his day at school went! So frustrating.  And extremely lonely.

I’m in counseling trying to get myself healthy but this is obviously an area that needs to get healed as well and I just don’t know how to get this started. He is not living with me & the kids right now.


Q&A with J: Boundaries in the Bedroom

Covering up sin. Let’s start with this line: I tried covering up his sin (don’t air your dirty laundry, don’t talk badly about your husband, etc) , tried to “be better.”

Yes, I believe in respecting privacy, showing discretion, and not bashing your husband all the time. But keeping sin secrets is a mark of dysfunction in a family.

Keeping sin secrets is a mark of dysfunction in a family. - @HotHolyHumorous Click To Tweet

People from highly dysfunctional families, especially with addictions, often receive overt or subtle messages to never share what happens in the family. By establishing this “no sharing” rule, the worst actors in the family get away with what they’re doing and problems perpetuate.

The Bible does not say to cover up sin.

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God” (John 3:20-21).

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light” (Ephesians 5:11-13).

It is not a mercy to allow your husband or wife to continue in addiction, which destroys individuals and families. Of course, you have a responsibility to not air their sin on public street corners but with discretion and godliness. The most often cited passage regarding this is Matthew 18:15-17:

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Confront ongoing sin in your family privately. But if it continues to occur and damage your spouse and your family, it’s time to seek help and intervention.

Choose carefully whom to involve, considering the need for trust, firmness, wisdom, and respect. That could be your pastor, one of your spouse’s friends, a mentor couple, a counselor, or someone else you know. But if you go to a church leader, and you’re only told to “be better” or pray more or submit to your husband (and his sin), seek help from someone else.

“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).

Speaking up for what you need in your marriage. I wince a little when I write about “needs,” because honestly, I think we define way too many things as needs. It’s become a too-easy method of demanding your way to state your spouse must meet some need you have, even if it’s really just a desire.

But healthy relationships do need certain things, and among them are openness and trust. You don’t merely request those, however, and get them gift-wrapped and delivered into your hands. You must foster the atmosphere, habits, and commitment of being vulnerable and intimate in your marriage.

That means you get to ask some questions, and your spouse should answer them honestly. So when this happens — His conversation is always “well, what do you want to know?” — ask what you want to know! Might it feel awkward and foolish and frustrating? Yeah, sure. At the beginning, it might. But you’re re-establishing connections and building habits of communication.

If your spouse has been unfaithful, remember that you don’t want all the details. Your husband cannot untell you what he tells you. I absolutely did not describe to my husband particulars about my premarital promiscuous past, but he knows the person I was, the person I am, and what I do to keep myself in his arms and his alone. Because that‘s what matters.

Here are the types of questions that won’t help:

  • What sexual acts did you do with her? – just plants bad images in your head
  • How many times did you do this activity? – it’s not the number, it’s the sin itself
  • What did she look like? – it’s not about competing against another woman’s looks

And types of questions that make sense:

  • Where have you been? / Where are you going? – reasonable questions in any marriage, but even more so if a spouse has been secretive and broken trust with adultery
  • What do you think made you seek out other partners? – in an attempt to get at core causes and face them together
  • What are you doing to make sure you don’t fall into addiction again? And how can I help? – need accountability and support to change

You are two become one, and that means you get to have more knowledge about your spouse than others do. And if your spouse isn’t willing to open up, be vulnerable, and communicate about your marriage’s challenges, that’s a red flag waving. Of course you shouldn’t constantly attack him, but “what do you want to know?” sounds like a great question to me. So breathe deep, think hard, pray continually, and ask your questions.

Zero boundaries in the bedroom. You say, “I’m still trying to set some health boundaries in our marriage with all of this (and starting from ZERO (boundaries?  What are those?)) but, I also have no idea how to re-engage.” Zero boundaries? Does that mean he gets whatever he wants, and you never speak up for yourself in the marriage bed?

Let’s get super-clear here: You are not his sex toy. In fact, if you’ve been functioning merely as a means to satisfy his sex drive, flip that notion on its head. God’s intention for sex in marriage is a mutually intimate and satisfying experience.

God's intention for sex in marriage is a mutually intimate and satisfying experience. - @HotHolyHumorous Click To Tweet

The first boundary is you get to say yes or no. Look, I’ve heard all of the statements from well-meaning Christians saying that a wife should ever refuse her husband. But that presumes a husband who is attuned to his wife’s needs and well-being, and that simply isn’t always the case. He could be a complete jerk that way, but more likely, he received bad teaching about sex and faces ignorance about understanding women’s sexual arousal and desires.

Biblical submission includes willingness to submit to another — meaning it’s a gift you give, not a demand someone makes of you. Your body belongs to youand in marriage you choose to share it with your husband (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). You have that choice.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to bless each other in marriage willingly and frequently with sexual intimacy. But please know that your body isn’t the property of your husband, but rather yours to share with him, according to God’s brilliant design.

Other reasonable boundaries include:

  • What sexual activities you will or won’t do. Consider each activity and ask whether it is right and beneficial. If it involves third parties, harms either of you, or qualifies in the ick category (you just can’t go there), say no to that activity and find something else to do. We have a great deal of freedom to explore and pleasure one another in the marriage bed.
  • When to engage and when to reschedule. Sometimes sex is just a poorly timed idea, like if you’re recovering from illness, exhausted to the point of forgetting your name, or needed to take care of other family members. You can say not now and reschedule for later. I’m a proponent of rain check sex, when you speak up and say something like, “This isn’t a good time, but how about first thing in the morning?”
  • Where and how you are touched. Being touched in some places on your body may produce the opposite effect of sexual arousal. Or being touched with certain pressure or friction may cause unpleasant or painful sensations. You should be able to speak up verbally or move his hand someplace else. Be kind, but help your mate learn the moves that turn you on and bring you pleasure.

For more tips on how to set appropriate boundaries, see Setting Boundaries in the Bedroom.

When each spouse establishes and respects healthy boundaries, you don’t have much conflict about what you’ll do in the marriage bed. Because your focus is on mutual respect, satisfaction, and intimacy. Neither one of you gets to decide everything, because you are both considering yourself and your spouse. And you can relax, knowing you can trust your spouse to respect you.

How to reengage. Honestly, this is one I want to throw over to your counselor, his support group, and other local resources at your disposal. When and how to re-engage is a decision you must make with your particular circumstances in mind.

It’s a slow process to rebuild trust in a marriage. But ultimately it involves creating a safe atmosphere, then making a decision to engage, filling yourself with positive truths to fight bad messages and lingering feelings, and creating a new level of trust and intimacy. It can be done.

I pray your marriage is strengthened and that God carries you through.

Q&A with J: What about Cheating Wives?

I had another question I was going to tackle, but after writing Forget Josh Duggar: What Ashley Madison’s Client Base Reveals about Husbands, I got several similar comments/questions on my Facebook page:

“…a lot of wives have signed up as well…”

“So why did the women sign up? Unless all the men were secretly gay, and I’m sure that is nowhere near the truth, there had to be a number of women signed up to make the site even feasible.”

“I appreciate what you’ve said about the husbands, but what about the wives who have accounts?”

Q&A with J: What about Cheating Wives?

I read several articles about Ashley Madison’s database contents. From what I have gleaned (but do your own homework), perhaps 75%-90% of their paid clients are men. Of those men, a number of them are actually single — seeking the no-strings-attached, affair experience over the be-a-real-man work of settling into a real relationship.

Regardless, some wives have signed up for accounts with this dating website exclusively tailored for extramarital affairs. I didn’t write about them originally because I haven’t seen sufficient data to draw conclusions about who they are and what they’re looking for.

Although if it’s anything like the usual reasons for wives seeking affairs, I have some guesses about what they’re wanting.

Attention. A number of wives complain that their husbands don’t listen to them, value who they are, or romance them the way they once did. They long to be complimented, showered with affection, and to feel like the only woman in the world when their guy looks at them.  When this isn’t happening in their marriage, they may start looking for it elsewhere.

Emotional connection. Sex is not the primary reason most women seek affairs — they want the emotional connection they feel is missing in their marriage. Which is why spending time with that male co-worker who’s so nice to you, or revealing your thoughts and feelings to your next door neighbor, or even spending a lot of time alone in ministry with a man who isn’t your husband is a really bad idea. You start to connect emotionally, and for us gals, emotional intimacy fuels sexual intimacy.

Feeling sexy. The pressure for women to be sexy is so strong in our culture, but I believe that desire is also innate to our being. We ladies long to be wanted, mostly for who we are but also because of our feminine form and beauty. For most women, when a loving husband tells you that you’re smokin’ hot, that feels really good. If you don’t feel that way in your marriage, though, maybe you think you could get that affirmation from another man.

I’m sure there are other reasons, but those are a few of my ideas.

Now here’s reality:

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down (Proverbs 14:1). Click To Tweet

Any of that attention, emotional connection, and feeling sexy is false advertising, rotten for your marriage, damaging to your children, and dangerous to your soul.

Here are some other posts I’ve done on adultery to clarify where I stand on this issue:

Avoiding Adultery: My Rule
Forget the Hedge, Build a Wall
The Bible’s Answer to Sexual Temptation
7 Steps to an Affair

And here are a few other scriptures about the poison of affairs:

“But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32 – surely applies to a woman too).

“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

Let’s hope it’s uber-clear now to everyone that cheating is bad. Bad, bad, bad. Husbands shouldn’t do it, wives shouldn’t it, and spouses shouldn’t stand for it.

I’m not suggesting an end to marriage if a spouse cheats, but I am suggesting an end to the adultery. There is hope for those marriages, with repentance and the redemptive power of God. But that road must begin with a recognition that, no matter what your marital situation and the yearnings of your heart, an extramarital affair is not the answer.

Forget Josh Duggar: What Ashley Madison’s Client Base Reveals about Husbands

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?

Forget Josh Duggar: What Ashley Madison's Client Base Reveals about Husbands

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.