Four Slippery Steps to Adultery

Written by Ron and Nancy C. Anderson

Progressive choices that lead to destruction

At work, in our neighborhoods and during our daily activities we all encounter people of the opposite sex who are attractive.  That’s not the problem.  Our selfish choices after the attraction create the problem. Adultery has a progression and most people (even Christians) take these steps before they slide down the slippery slope.

I know, because I chose this path when I left my husband for a coworker named Jake. I know the lies I told myself, the selfish decisions that broke my husband’s heart and the sins I committed.  I also know the healing and restoration that took place when I confessed, broke off the affair, and found forgiveness from my husband and God.  Although I have healed, there are scars that remain, even 25 years later, so I pray you will learn from my mistakes as you consider these progressive elements of adultery.

1. An Unguarded Mind

This is the “What if…” stage where your thoughts begin to grow unchecked.  You find yourself asking questions like, “I wonder if he thinks I’m attractive? “, or thinking,  “I hope she sits near me during the meeting”.

Perhaps you try to manipulate your schedule or activities to create more opportunities for contact. Nothing inappropriate has happened yet, but you think about the possibilities. If you allow this to continue, your emotions will grow, the fantasies will take root, and you’ll think about the other person in romantic or sexual situations.

Solution: If an inappropriate thought pops into your head, do NOT allow it to linger. Quickly remove yourself from any tempting situations. Don’t let your desires get out of hand. Refresh in your mind the things you enjoy about your spouse and your home life and determine not to take a sledgehammer to your marriage commitment. Ask for higher help.

2. An Unguarded Heart

This is the stage where your emotions run wild and you begin to lie to yourself. (In my case, I told myself I deserve to be happy.)  You may start to build emotional bonds with the other person by creating excuses to spend time together.  You may try to increase the positive contact and do things to please him or her. Example: If he mentions that he likes red, you may be tempted to wear a red dress or if she talks about a favorite flower, you may want to bring her one.

Solution: Seek help in getting control of your emotions. Consider the negative consequences if this flirtation continues: your spouse’s pain, loss of respect from children, friends, and relatives, and financial losses. You may need to confess your temptation to your spouse or a trusted friend who will hold you accountable because dark secrets have less power when you bring them into the light. Find a friend, counselor or a pastor who can help you seek God’s help. God planned marriage and He can help you restore yours.

Discuss this article on the blog How often do you think about your marriage?

3. An Unguarded Mouth

This step includes verbal flirtations and taking the relationship beyond theory into reality. Perhaps you begin by offering or responding to personal compliments such as, “You are the perfect match for me”, or  “When I’m with you, the rest of my life fades away”.

Knowing that compliments are like magnets, you begin to form an attraction and create a verbal intimacy that includes whispers, code words, pet names, and intimate secrets.  This can also include flirtatious or sensual/sexual email conversations and instant messages

The next verbal step is to talk about the “What if…”.  For example, “If I weren’t married, you’d be my soul mate” , or “I wish I’d met you before I got married”.  Jake and I used to play this fantasy game, “If we could run away together, where would we go?”

Then the negative words about your current mate begin:

“My husband treats me like a maid and never compliments me.”

“My wife just treats me like a paycheck and I’m not attracted to her anymore.”

“My wife/husband and I are just roommates and if it weren’t for the kids, I’d have left years ago.”

Solution: Focus on the good things in your marriage and try to compliment your mate at least once a day.  Be aware that any emails or IMs you send are not really private. If you would be ashamed to have your pastor or mother read it, don’t type it.  Concentrate on building up your marriage with your words instead.

Connect with your spouse through meaningful and encouraging conversation. Turn from the behavior that will destroy your home.

4. An Unguarded Body

This is the step where emotional adultery becomes physical.  Some people think that only intercourse defines adultery, but I strongly disagree.  If you have intimate, sensual contact with someone other than your spouse, it is a breach of your marriage vows. Ask yourself, “If my actions were photographed, would they condemn me?”.

I know how exciting the forbidden kiss is and how electrifying the stolen, passionate caress is but I also know how costly they are because I almost lost everything including my marriage.  I walked away from my relationship with Christ as I chose to follow my selfish heart into sin.  But I, like the prodigal son, came to my senses as I ran back to the Lord and He welcomed me home. Then I begged my husband’s forgiveness, broke off all contact with Jake, and rebuilt my marriage. Ron and I now help couples see that no marriage is beyond God’s ability to heal.

Solution: If you’ve already crossed the line, stop all contact with the other person, confess your actions as wrong behavior and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Determine to build into your marriage and into your spouse. Make a choice to turn your heart toward home.

Are you ready?

You can pray now to ask Jesus to come into your life.

God, I need your help to cleanse my mind, my heart, my mouth, and my body, I want my marriage and I need your help to keep it. Please forgive my selfish behavior and come into my life and into my marriage and help me to build it fresh with your help.

For more information about Ron and Nancy’s story, go to their marriage blog at or read Nancy’s book, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome:How to Grow Affair Proof Hedges Around your Marriage.

4 Responses to “Four Slippery Steps to Adultery”

  • Crystal says:

    Just wanted to say what good work you are doing in helping
    people with infidelity issues. It’s good to know there
    are people out there sending out the right messages to help
    people save their relationships.

  • Claire Colvin Claire says:

    Email mentoring is a great idea. You can access mentoring through the TALK button at the top, right hand side of the screen. Mentoring simply starts a conversation. It’s free, confidential and non-judgmental.

  • Kara says:

    What a difficult time you must be going through. Is there a way that you could talk with your husband or even get some help to walk through this? This site has mentors who are willing to come alongside you in a time like this.

  • Ellen says:

    Did my spouse have an affair? I was secretely in love with someone else and now I think he’s having an affair.

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