22 steps to adultery

Am I getting R-rated on our blog? I guess so… but for a good cause. Tonight Beth and I were talking about yet another pastor who was unfaithful to his wife. I’m getting tired of hearing these reports, as I’m sure you are.

I’m convinced more than ever that the devil loves bringing church leaders down. One of the biggest things that will destroy your ministry is sexual sin. I remember being a senior in high school and the devastation that I experienced when my youth pastor was caught in a sexual affair. 

I love my wife! She loves God, loves me, and is the sexiest woman I know. I’m committed today more than ever to sexual purity. By God’s grace, I have been faithful to my wife and by His grace I will remain faithful.

Several years ago a guy in my church gave me a stack of papers that he picked up from a conference. Included in that stack was a sheet with the chain of events that lead to adultery. I want to paraphrase it for you in 22 steps.

1. You meet someone (the circumstances vary).

2. You grow more and more aware of that particular person.

3. You spend time thinking about that person.

4. There is a series of unplanned, innocent contacts. This can be in person or electronic (email, Facebook, etc).

5. In your mind, you compare that person to your present husband or wife.

6. You spend time thinking about how unhappy you are.

7. The unplanned, innocent contacts develop into planned, intentional contacts.

8. You find ways to seek the other person out to talk and have conversations. Again, this can be online, by email or by text.

9. You realize that you feel good when you’re with the other person.

10. You start comparing. You compare the way you feel about this person with the way you feel about your spouse. You compare how the other person treats you compared to how your spouse treats you.

11. You look for ways you can be with the other person for legitimate reasons.

12. There is an exchange of apparently innocent forms of physical affection.

13. Innocent forms of affection quickly turn to embracing and kissing.

14. You experience a struggle with your conscience.

15. The desire to be in contact with each other continues.

16. You engage in actual sexual involvement.

17. You plan frequent covert meetings.

18. You are now living a double life.

19. Others become suspicious and confront you.

20. You are defensive and you deny everything.

21. At some point, the truth rises to the surface (and mark this down: it will).

22. It’s decision time. You have three choices:
a. First, you decide to continue having the affair (or other affairs) and remain married.
b. Second, you make plans to separate and get divorced.
c. You repent and seek help.

After you have read through these steps to adultery, why don’t you pray and ask God to keep you pure and faithful to your spouse? If you need to repent and get help, don’t wait. Take care of it today.

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10 Comments on “22 steps to adultery”

  1. 1 Melissa Rockefeller said at 4:39 am on February 14th, 2012:

    Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. My dad gave my husband & i some great advice when we got married: never stop dating. He reminded us that, that piece of paper (meaning the marriage certificate) today is nearly worthless. If someone wants to leave they will, so treat them like you did when you won their love in the first place. This is not always easy and sometimes it is down right horribly difficult, but it is worth the effort. Eddie and I have been dating 24 years this autumn. We have been married less than that, but we still celebrate the month we started dating all those years ago. When you think about it, is so much more fun to go out with my boyfriend on a date than to talk serious stuff with my husband!! ;)

  2. 2 Devin Kroner said at 4:20 pm on February 14th, 2012:

    Great stuff. I will share it with our staff. Always have to be aware of the way the devil tries to destroy and keep ourselves in the Word and working on our relationships.

  3. 3 Kevin Geer said at 8:56 pm on February 15th, 2012:

    Ryan Great Post. Thanks for talking about it. It is so much better to be proactive then reactive when it comes to these kind of issues. To often couples wait to long to get the help they need. As pastors, thus leaders, we must be proactive and that starts with being proactive about our marriages. I too am tired of hearing about failing marriages. Going to go kiss my wife now.

  4. 4 Steps to Adultery - Be aware | iTODD said at 10:15 pm on February 15th, 2012:

    [...] had just read this blog post over on Ryans blog and thought it was great and worthy to make mention of again. Ryan makes mention of a guy in [...]

  5. 5 someone said at 7:17 am on February 19th, 2012:

    this is a good list, not a bad list, but a bit overly simplistic, perhaps put together by someone who has never experienced a spouse who had a failure nor the real realities of the steps to the breakdow. It often is not quit so simple a path.

    while avoiding our own path down that road is certainly important, of equal importance, and perhaps greater importance, is what are we doing to make sure we are meeting our spouces needs so they never need to turn to someone else? because if each spouse were truly taking care of the other and not focusing on their own needs, no affairs would happen. affairs happen as a result of unhappy unfulfilled spouces and it is our job to make sure our spouce never needs an affair to have their needs met. making we never fall is only half the battle. Making sure our spouse never falls is the real battle we must be fighting by fighting for their heart every day.

  6. 6 Forgiven said at 11:15 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    Brother, I did it to my first wife and had it done to me by my second wife. Ironic…I doubt it. Your steps are dead on. I remember going through each of these. I appreciate you spelling them out for us.
    By the way…after my second wife left me for another man, my knees buckled and I found myself babysitting pigs and sharing their food while my Father’s servants slept in a nice bed at night. Although, I am still married, I am geographically single (she moved to another town).
    My current job is not to win her back. God will bring her back when He is ready. My current job is to seek God, Know Him and become the man of God that He would have me to be.
    Ironically (again, I doubt it), I would never have come back had it not been for this devastating event.
    Thanks again.
    Forgiven

  7. 7 Khamneithang Vaiphei said at 10:37 am on June 20th, 2012:

    I would love to repost the above article on my blog. Kindly allow me and I’ll include a link back to your site: Article originally published at Just Frank Talk

  8. 8 rfrank said at 7:29 pm on June 20th, 2012:

    Go ahead and repost! Thanks!!!

  9. 9 Rebekah said at 5:12 pm on November 20th, 2012:

    Thank you so much for bringing this to light. Just stumbled across this post. I’d also add the the most important way to halt the progression of these steps is to have an open, honest relationship with your spouse and TALK ABOUT IT when you notice yourself (or your spouse) maybe getting to steps 1-4. There’s nothing wrong with meeting people — but when you start to think about them a little too much, there needs to be a discussion. As my mother-in-law wisely says, “What’s concealed gains power, but what’s revealed can be healed.”

    Thanks again for sharing. People don’t realize how easy it is for this stuff to happen until it happens to them or someone they love.

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