When I was in college, I spent a summer working in a lock shop. Rock, my supervisor, was an old, stocky African American man with a raspy voice. He was hardworking, had a nickname for everyone, and was a great storyteller. One of my favorite stories of his is about when he was asked to collect screws in the warehouse. Apparently, the company was trying to save money and time for an in-house building project requiring screws. So Rock’s manager brought him into the warehouse and asked him to remove all the screws fastening the high, steel shelves to the walls. Rock got a ladder and went to work, moving right to left. With each screw he removed, the shelves still stood in place. Then he ascended the ladder a final time and removed the last screw on the last shelf—which leaned and crashed into the one next to it.
The rest of the shelves (and everything on them) went down like thundering dominoes. The manager ran in to find a pile of destruction. Behind the debris, Rock stood sheepishly on the ladder, holding one screw in his hand. He and the manager stared at each other until Rock broke the silence: “This is your fault.” We do this in our marriages, too. In marriage, believing lies is like removing the screws. It’s dangerous, causes bad decisions, and leads to signs of infidelity. And marital affairs rarely happen randomly. They result from believing and justifying lies. But exposing lies keeps us from falling into their traps. Knowing the warning signs of infidelity can keep the dominoes from falling. Here are dangerous lies husbands and wives believe that lead to infidelity.Marital affairs rarely happen randomly. They result from believing and justifying lies.
My spouse should make me happy/I deserve to be happy.
While happiness may be part of marriage, marriage is actually not about or for happiness. Believing that it is creates an attitude of selfishness, plain and simple. When you nurture this attitude, spouse blaming becomes routine and bitterness is right around the corner. The list of negative qualities in your spouse gets longer and longer. All it does is attempt to justify the selfish attitude so the person is free to chase happiness or the greener grass. Marriage is about dying to self, giving, and loving in good times and bad. That’s why it’s so difficult but also so rewarding.
There’s nothing wrong with a little flirting.
It’s exciting to flirt. When someone finds you sexually attractive, you feel good, particularly when you feel the same way about that person. No one wants to lose that feeling. So married people justify flirting with others by telling themselves it doesn’t mean anything. But it does. It’s hurtful to your spouse because it trains the heart to wander. It’s natural to have feelings of attraction to others, but acting on those feelings gives a place in the heart to a person who doesn’t belong there. Flirting is like entering a river with a powerful current that ends at a large drop-off.
What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.
This attitude can take root in doing something you know would upset your spouse. You recognize it’s wrong and probably feel guilty, but don’t want to stop. In an attempt to make himself feel better, this guy simply tells himself that he’s not hurting anyone. But it does hurt. Secrets cause disconnection. Spouses can sense intuitively when there is distance, no matter the degree. They may not address it, but they sense it. Believing a lie like this is just the beginning of allowing disconnection to enter the relationship. The distance just gets wider and wider until this person connects to someone else.
I have sexual needs.
Food is something you need. Sex is not something you need. It’s something you desire. An attitude such as this one gives sexual urges too much power. It is also a subtle way to justify pursuing sex outside of marriage. Once it’s justified in a person’s heart and mind, acting on the desire becomes easier. You can make an argument that sex is a need for the health of the relationship, but in that case, it is a need for the husband and the wife together, not just for one of them. Any sexual feelings that have to do with you alone point to a desire, not a need.
Our marriage problems are my spouse’s fault.
Marriage relationships consist of two people. One person might be more responsible, but not completely to blame. This is a convenient way to avoid responsibility. Anytime people avoid responsibility, blame others, or justify themselves, they become colder. Walls of defense get fortified and the separation begins. There are occasions when one person is completely to blame, but those are rare.
Sound off: What do you think leads to infidelity?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “Has there ever been anything you were afraid to tell me?”