All of us know that adultery -- sex outside the marriage -- is one of the gravest blows to a marriage as well as a painful rejection for one partner. But you don’t have to have sex with anyone else to be unfaithful. Emotional infidelity is just as -- and at times even more --destructive to your marriage. Couples I counsel are absolutely outraged when I tell them that they could well be committing emotional adultery when they flirt with coworkers, send around funny e-mails to colleagues, or hang out with members of the opposite sex at gatherings. But they are, and so probably are you.
You’re not going to want to hear this, but stopping this kind of relationship is the single most important thing you can do for your marriage. It’s not about where it may lead. It’s about where it has already gone, far from your focus on your marriage. Remember what it is you’ve always wanted from your marriage, and start considering the large, determined commitment that is absolutely necessary to creating a happy marriage.
What’s the harm in a man having a casual friendship with a woman when either is married? Or a married woman having a casual friendship with another man? Surely, every friendship doesn’t lead to an affair. Yet we forget the emotional harm of relating to someone outside the marriage when that same energy can be used to relate to our own spouse. Marriage is about relating to a member of the opposite sex with an intimacy felt with no other.