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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 10

Unfaithfulness: Why Married Couples Cheat

The reasons husbands and wives cheat on each other or become unfaithful are varied and complex. However we do need to consider the question to the degree we are able, as it will help some. These simple and practical truths could be the means of saving some marriages and will certainly enhance and strengthen others. Such truth is especially needed in this hour of sexual permissiveness.

However, the spirit of this age is moving man toward a sexual permissiveness not classified as infidelity or unfaithfulness. Without guilt or conscience, sex among single people is no longer considered wrong by much of today’s generation. Likewise many married couples take the same attitude toward extra-marital affairs. Realizing that very few in this category will be helped, it is to those who still have a conscience in these things that this message is directed.


On most questions or issues you will find two extremes, neither of which is right. One of these extremes relative to sexual infidelity is to condemn all violators regardless of conditions. And the violation is according to who is interpreting the law or moral code. The other extreme is exemplified in today’s philosophy called “the New Morality”: there is nothing wrong with sex between two people so long as they both desire it.

This is in no wise intended to justify the transgressor nor mete out judgment on the guilty, but simply to say that God alone sees things as they really are and is the true judge of human affairs. Because of this there are some cases that God would be more lenient toward than man. Likewise there are some that God would be more severe toward than man. Thank God there is forgiveness for all sin through Christ, including sexual infidelity.


Because of the sex drive or the power of sex itself, it is not uncommon for both men and women to be tempted with sexual desire for someone other than their mate. It is estimated by one authority that one in four wives commit adultery at least once in her life. I would say there is an even larger percentage of men. Although there are many that do not give in to such temptation, some do at sometime in their life. Some of these go on into a life of sexual infidelity while others quit after an escapade or two and remain loyal to their mates the rest of their lives.

Although there is no apparent reason other than the power of sex itself for some becoming unfaithful, there are some things we need to consider. These are factors, some of which are more important than others, that cause both men and women to turn to others for love and sexual gratification.


As there are some people who will passively remain loyal to their mates regardless of conditions, there are some who will cheat regardless of conditions. These people are simply prone to infidelity. If it were possible for them to have a perfect wife or husband it would not prevent their unfaithfulness. They may have a fine family, good profession, friends and other interests but they’re never satisfied with the same sexual partner.

There is nothing especially wrong with their mate or their sex life together, they simply find they can’t resist the challenge of a new conquest. Sex with someone other than their mate is always a thrilling prospect of sexual anticipation. The person’s ego may also be involved in thinking they are desirable to others.

Others in this category think of an extra-marital affair as an adventuresome escapade in which they are getting away with something. The power of the sex drive and the high premium put upon sex by man is greatly responsible for this.


Lack of sexual satisfaction, real or imagined, is often responsible for husbands and wives cheating on each other. The reason I refer to this condition as real or imagined is because there are some whose problem is more psychological than real. This often is the result of an anticipated sex thrill that is slow in coming or does not measure up to expectation. Perhaps the greatest cause of this is the glorified overemphasis of sex on every hand.

One newly wed wife said she expected bells to ring, sirens to wail and psychedelic lights to flash on and off. When this didn’t happen she thought she had been cheated. This negative thinking soon resulted in her thinking the trouble was with her husband. He wasn’t the romantic lover she thought he would be. Consequently she turned to another man for love and sexual satisfaction. However it didn’t take her long to discover this wasn’t the answer to her problem.

A young man who married a fine Christian girl was greatly disappointed when his young bride failed to respond to him sexually as he thought she should. He had read too many romantic novels that pictured the woman aflame with passion at the touch of a man. He thought surely something must be wrong and took her to a doctor to find out what the trouble was.

Without doubt untold thousands of couples have had similar experiences and some of them have turned to others for the sexual satisfaction they felt they were being denied. Very often the real problem in such cases is simply ignorance and impatience. Sexual harmony does not always come quickly nor easily. It takes patience, work and cooperation. A proper mental attitude and a certain amount of hard work is necessary.

And there are cases in which one marriage partner is actually guilty of withholding themselves from sexual union with their mate. It could be the man or the woman. When this happens it makes it difficult for the one whose sexual appetite is not being satisfied. A prolonged situation such as this can lead to the deprived mate turning to another for sexual gratification.

God’s word says, “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto her husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one another, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” I Cor. 7:3-5.

Although God’s word instructs both husband and wife not to defraud the other in the matter of sex there should be consideration for each other’s feelings. God can give a woman and man harmony in their sex relationship as well as all others.


Some men and women who do cheat on each other are not necessarily as disappointed with sex itself as they are with the concept of marriage in general. They may be immature or simply unable to accept the responsibility that goes with marriage. To them marriage is a form of bondage or a yoke they do not want to wear. In their frustration they think another woman or another man is the true answer to their problem. It is very easy to imagine that the grass is greener in another pasture.


After a few years of married life with the home, children, business and other activities taking more and more time, it is easy for the man and the woman to take each other for granted. Instead of sharing together they become lost in their own little world. Instead of the two becoming “one flesh” they actually grow apart. Eph. 5:31.

This is when the woman becomes more of a wife than a sweetheart. Her greatest concern in life is the home, the children and all that relates to them. She occupies herself with making a nice livable home, cooking meals and looking after the children. Some go even further in getting involved with various clubs and sometimes working on a job.

This, of course, leaves her tired and weary at night with little time or interest in her husband, much less sex. In many such cases it is midnight before she goes to bed. Even if her husband hasn’t given up and gone to sleep she is in no mood for romance. When she does reluctantly submit to his advances it is with the attitude of “hurry up and get it over with so I can get some sleep.” This is the type situation which makes it easy for the husband to look elsewhere.

Likewise some men become so engrossed in their job or business until they have little time for their wife and family. They become obsessed with their business and spend long hours and sometimes days and nights away from home. Success becomes their great objective in life. When home for a few hours he is preoccupied in mind with his business.

About the only attention his wife gets is when he wants sex and then it’s back to business. It doesn’t take a woman long to feel neglected and unloved under these conditions. Some will turn to another man for the attention and affection their hearts cry out for. When this happens it is very easy to become sexually involved with the man that supplies her with attention and affection.


Sex is not something that a man or woman can be passive about. Everything that God made to be mutually shared and enjoyed requires wholehearted participation. This includes sex. Submission just to satisfy the husband or wife is not enough. It is psychologically unhealthy for a sensitive person to think their mate is not being satisfied or enjoying their sex relationship.

Being the most intimate of all human relationships sex should be that special time when a couple expresses their love and delight in each other. When this is lacking, sex loses its true meaning and leaves the man and woman feeling cheated and denied. A major part of the enjoyment of sex is in knowing your mate is also being satisfied.

Very often a mental hang-up caused by fear or a false guilt complex hinders the man or woman in their sexual union. Whatever the problem, if not eliminated, it can cause the man or woman to turn to another for love and sexual gratification.


In many cases where men and women become unfaithful it is not necessarily sex they are after. They simply want attention, love and companionship. Normally speaking it is the person who gives you attention, love and companionship that you share sex with. When these ingredients are missing in a marriage, that marriage is in trouble.

An example of this came to my attention several years ago. The young woman worked on a job as well as her husband and had all of her housework to do when she came in from work. Her husband used his leisure time for fishing and hunting. When he was home he sat around while his wife cleaned the house and waited on him. About the only interest he showed in her was when she got her pay check or he wanted some sex.

Under these conditions it didn’t take the wife long to feel unloved, neglected and unappreciated. And certainly such conditions were not conducive to a harmonious marriage or sex relationship. Likewise these conditions were ideal to turn the wife away from her husband to another man who came along and showed her some attention. Although she wasn’t the type that ordinarily becomes unfaithful, she was starved for love and attention and simply responded to the man that gave it to her.


It is said that the greatest cause of trouble among many married couples leading to separation and divorce is money problems or lack of finances. This also leads to infidelity or unfaithfulness. Actually most of the financial problems that come are the result of poor management caused by ignorance and inexperience. Many today do not know what it means to be frugal and live within their means.

With our credit system of “buy now and pay later” too many young couples soon find themselves swamped with bills they can’t pay. This frustration leads to arguments and fights with each blaming the other for their trouble. Not understanding their real problem it is easy for them to turn to another man or woman not identified with their trouble. From a distance the grass always looks greener in another pasture. And you are not as subject to notice the thistles, cockleburs and weeds in the other pasture as you are in your own.


Another mistake that leads to infidelity or unfaithfulness is a lack of togetherness or unity. Sexual infidelity is the result of division. There never was any unity or the breach has already taken place when a man or woman becomes unfaithful. The real problem is not sexual infidelity but the root cause that leads to it. Because of this men and women need to be careful and deliberate in choosing someone for a lifetime partner. Incompatibility becomes very manifest after the honeymoon is over.

Even though a couple is compatible and able to communicate with each other, there is a need to cultivate togetherness after the honeymoon is over. It is after the light of that first love has dimmed that a couple is subject to drift apart with each one doing his own thing, thus creating a world of his own not shared nor understood by his mate. Doing things together, going places, sharing and taking an interest in each other’s activities is very important. This becomes a bond that strengthens a marriage and holds a couple together.

True marriage is the fusion of two lives. The greater the fusion the stronger the marriage. The sharing and mutual enjoyment of sex certainly enhances a marriage but that alone will not keep a couple together. Children, religion, hobbies, friends and other common interests all add to a happy marriage.

It is when a man or woman is left out of the other’s life in these things they are subject to turn to another. God made man to share with others. When he is denied this privilege he is lonely and unhappy. A vacuum is created that must be filled. In this condition a man or woman will give their affection and love to the one that fills the vacuum.

Psalms 133:1 says, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Although this verse of scripture is usually applied to Christian unity, the unity of man and woman in marriage is a type of this blessedness. Paul likened the marriage union to the union of Christ and his body, the Church. Eph. 5:30-32. We can very well say, “How good and how pleasant it is for man and wife to dwell together in unity.”


During courtship and the early part of a marriage a man and woman are usually concerned about how they look to each other. They consider regular baths, well groomed hair, nice clothes and use of perfume and lotions a must. It is after a couple becomes used to each other and the luster of the honeymoon is gone that they become careless about these things.

Although God’s word puts a premium upon spiritual cleanliness it does not overlook the physical aspect. II Cor. 7:1 says, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

It is also significant that Paul speaks of the Church being sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the word. This is true of the Church as the bride of Christ in a spiritual sense. But it also could be applied to man and woman in the physical sense, who are types of Christ and the Church.

Although we can’t always equate clean well-groomed bodies with intelligence and good mental health there is often a connection. It is quite common for mentally sick people to be careless and indifferent about physical cleanliness and appearance. Beyond doubt many mental cases are the result of demon influence upon the mind. Called unclean spirits in the Bible they seek to defile human beings morally and physically.

Since we are psychologically turned on and off to sex it is vital that a good mental image through cleanliness be maintained. Clean, attractive bodies enhance a marriage and the sex relationship. But carelessness in this area will dampen the ardor of many who are sensitive to such things.

Not only is a man or woman more sexually desirable when clean and physically attractive but such a practice also wins the respect of their mate. When there is a loss of respect because of these things it is very easy to admire someone else. This is especially true when that someone is a contrast in cleanliness and physical attractiveness. Whether we realize it or not we will take note and make comparisons.


Another thing that enhances a marriage is honor and respect for each other. Prov. 31:10-11 says, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”

The woman in Proverbs 31 is said to be virtuous, wise, kind, considerate and industrious. It is evident her husband had no need of spoil because of his honor and respect for her. When these virtues are missing it is very easy for a man or woman to be drawn to another whom they can honor and respect. The Apostle Peter tells the wives that outward adornment such as hair, jewelry and clothing is not as important in winning their husbands as the inward adornment of a meek and a quiet spirit. I Peter 3:1-4.

What a man or a woman is on the inside is as important as their outward appearance. Because of this they should cultivate good manners, avoiding immodesty or coarse vulgarity. A man wants a nice virtuous woman for a wife and a woman wants a man of strength and character for a husband.

As we have said elsewhere on this subject, you don’t just marry a person’s body when you marry them. You marry the whole human personality including their mind, morals and varied personality traits. Every man and woman has some ideals they desire to transpose to the one they marry. When they lose respect for that person this idealistic image is shattered. Feeling cheated and robbed they are subject to look elsewhere for the man or girl of their dreams.

Certainly this is a principle that works today in helping to keep a couple together. We honor and respect those whose conduct demands honor and respect. By the same token we lose respect for those lacking virtuous conduct.

A husband or wife wants to believe their mate as Proverbs 31:29 says, “...excellest them all.”


Although evil spirits are not believed in by many they are without doubt a real factor in sexual infidelity. When a person begins to play the field in sexual permissiveness they are subject to receive a sex demon. It is believed that one of the seven devils that went out of Mary Magdalene was such a spirit. Luke 8:2.

We have found from experience that boys and girls who have gone astray into drugs, alcohol and sexual immorality have invariably been led into these vices through wrong association with others who do the same things. Beyond doubt, evil spirits with the cooperation of human instruments are responsible for this.

This is not to say every person who engages in sex outside of marriage receives a lust spirit any more than every person who takes a drink of an alcoholic beverage becomes an alcoholic. The danger is when such a person has no moral restraint and give himself to sexual activity with those who are possessed by evil spirits.

Although God can save and deliver such people, it is a great mistake to marry them thinking they will change after marriage. Many cases of sexual infidelity involve people who have been sexually permissive before marriage. Sex demons like all other evil spirits do not give up easily. They may remain quiet for awhile after marriage but will surely seek to drive the person into sexual infidelity if they are not delivered.

Very few couples can be realistic about themselves and the true implications of marriage. Because of this many are not prepared for marriage. When problems arise they invariably want to blame their spouse. If they don’t learn how to resolve their problems the result is division. It is this division that inevitably causes one or both of them to break their marriage vows and turn to another.

Problems in a marriage, including infidelity, can be overcome if a couple truly desires to live together. Although unfaithfulness is a hard blow for some a marriage can weather even this storm if there is a forgiving spirit. Sometimes counsel with a minister or informed person is a great help. Eph. 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Many have come back from the very brink of marital disaster and built a marriage that lasted. This is especially so when a man and woman commit their lives to Christ and begin to live for eternal things.

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