If you’re having an emotional affair…

June 20, 2012 — 9 Comments

I do marriage coaching.  A lot of marriage coaching.  I currently work with 2-4 couples a week and have worked with about 300 in the past 6 years.  This has been an amazing journey and has led me to start a book on family life so I can help even more couples.

As I was writing on that book this morning, I received an email from a woman who just found out her husband is having an emotional affair with a coworker.  Sadly, this is something I coach people through on an almost weekly basis.

This woman’s email has stirred some thoughts, so let me take a moment and give you some random wisdom.  This list is not exhaustive.

Men, if you’re having an emotional affair here’s what you need to do today:

Stop!  Cut off all communication, contact, texting, emails, calls, and personal interaction with the other woman now! Any contact you maintain with the other woman is a peg that Satan will use to destroy you, your marriage, your reputation, and your life.  If the woman doesn’t know how you feel…you’re delusional…she knows how you feel and she knows that she’s been flirting with you, too.  This is not the time to worry about embarrassing someone or hurting someone’s feelings or anything that keeps you from bolting back into the sanctity and safety of your marriage vows.

Confess your sin to God.  And don’t give me any of this crap about “well it never got physical, so it wasn’t really a sin”! You have betrayed your marriage covenant and lusted in your heart, so own your sin and take it to Jesus before your justification hardens your heart and leads you to spiritual death.  You must also resist any temptation to excuse or justify your sin.  Shut up! You have been flirting with and lusting after another woman.  You are a married man, so wake up and show some self-control!

Tell your wife.  You will not get through this without being honest with both yourself and your wife. She will be devastated, feel betrayed…and she should! You are being unfaithful. A death has occurred: the death of the man she thought she knew and the death of the marriage she thought she had.  She will grieve and you will let her.  She has the moral high ground and has permission to feel whatever she needs to feel.  You have lost the right to tell her how to feel.

Get some help.  You and your wife will need counseling to get your marriage back on the right track, to work through the pain, and to start the long process of healing.  Your pride and arrogance may lead you to believe that you can fix it on your own, but….you’re wrong! Humble yourself and serve your wife by submitting to Christian counseling.  You will need individual and couple’s counseling to get through this.

Embrace the grace of God.  You sinned. You are now experiencing the grace of God in a new and very real way.  Embrace God’s grace because it’s the only thing that will get both you and your wife through this dark valley.

-Keep hope alive.  You and your wife can survive this as long as YOU do the following things: Stop the sinful relationship, tell your wife the truth, seek her forgiveness, seek God’s forgiveness, seek Christian counseling, establish accountability with another brother in Christ, and resolve to live every moment of the rest of your life seeking to be the man your wife deserves.



9 responses to If you’re having an emotional affair…


    Great stuff bro’! One of the things men don’t get because we are so visual and physical when it comes to sex is that an emotional affair cuts a woman to the core. I’ve talked to wives who have said, “I could almost deal with this better if he had gone with a prostitute. But to think that they shared intimate details and had an emotional bond is more than I can bear!” It’s time for us to “love our lives like Jesus loves the church.”
    Thanks for making time for these couples.


    Good stuff, Brother, thanks for the thoughts. Just one comment, though. When you say “You have lost the right to tell her how to feel,” I’d agree with your intent, but say instead that you never had that right. Our wives see the world and feel the world differently than we do – that’s a big part of why marriage is so great (and great for us).


    Preach it! It’s time. It’s time for Christians to be more concerned about, and to spend more effort in fighting FOR God’s intention for marriage and less time fighting against what society thinks it should be. Follow Nehemiah’s lead – recognize the problem, understand the gravity of it and get on with the rebuilding. In my opinion – tactically speaking – that would be going on the offensive. That would be a great work.

    Julie McGrath June 20, 2012 at 8:24 am

    This is great for women too. So easy to get entangled in this sin. I appreciate your direct words about this. We are playing with fire that will engulf sacred priorities and commitments in no time.


    Nicely done. I see this becoming one of your more popular posts, but you may need to define an emotional affair. I know what you mean, but too many people in this world are in denial. That is why they so easily take the affair to the next stage.


    Reblogged this on My Lord and My Blog: A blog by Arron Chambers and commented:

    An emotional affair is when you are cheating on your spouse in a non-physical way. It is sin (Matthew 5:27,28). It kills trust. It ends marriages. And, it seems to be epidemic.


    This is a great post for women and men! Well said. I like how you list out the steps to take. Unfortunately, the emotional affair is becoming more prevalent in this day of Social Media. That makes your post timely.


    It’s not just men. My wife’s deep emotional affair had destroyed any chance of trust. Her heart so deceived her that she began to believe that God was behind her desires ant that i was God’s will! No one else around us knows, and the people at church treat her as a saint and consider her to be a prophet. I cant even attend worship when she is part of the sunday morning worship team.


      Thanks for this reminder that it’s not just a male issues. I’m sending this with a prayer of healing for you and a prayer that God’s Holy Spirit will cause sin’s scales to fall off your wife’s eyes.

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