Is Attraction Outside of Your Marriage Harmless?


Adultery always begins in the mind. You can indeed be unfaithful without having a sexual relationship.

Q. I’m attracted to someone else, but I’m not involved physically. Is this wrong?

A. Yes. You can indeed be unfaithful without having a sexual relationship. Emotional infidelity is adultery. A soul tie and connection were made and boundaries were crossed.

We hear about this far too often. We suggest that you can guard your spouse’s heart by praying with your mate. However, when a person outside of your marriage is trying to attach to you by praying for you or desiring to study Scripture with you, he or she is perhaps desiring to connect emotionally. We say that the person is not “praying” with you, but “preying” on you—and you are the target. That’s how Christians so often get drawn in. They think they’re having this spiritual connection and that it’s pure, but too often the emotional wiring overloads and suddenly they are experiencing a full-fledged soul tie. Even if sex has not occurred, the violation of marriage is just as strong.

Years ago a book titled Temptations Men Face by Tom Eisenman described twelve steps to an adulterous relationship. The first ten merely led up to step eleven—and none of the first ten involves sex. Instead, those first ten steps erode a man and a woman to the point where they begin the sexual relationship at step eleven. It starts with an alertness to another person, followed by surprise meetings, planned meetings, nonaffectionate touch, affectionate touch, then passionate embracing. Step eleven is capitulation; that’s where the intercourse occurs. It’s important to understand that by the time the first ten steps have occurred, it’s not a big leap from ten to eleven. Step twelve, then, is the acceptance of the affair.

Women need to understand that if they are in an inappropriate relationship with a man, it invariably will lead to sexual involvement. Men need to understand that women who are especially emotionally attentive may be seeking that kind of attachment.

Jesus talked about this danger: “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus warned that the first look begins a connection that can eventually lead to emotional unfaithfulness and often, finally, to full-blown adultery.

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