I think we can all agree that cheating on your spouse is a BAD thing. We often only equate cheating with adultery, or sexual infidelity–the most devastating form of cheating in a marriage. However, there are many more subtle ways that we cheat on our spouse every day, and we must recognize these destructive behaviors before it’s too late.
To cheat is to “act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage…”, according to Google. There is no place for this in a healthy marriage. We cheat each other out of the kind of marriage God desires for us every time we betray each other’s trust…even “small” acts of betrayal. These acts of cheating may be subtle, yet they often lead to bigger marital problems.
Here are 5 subtle ways you might be cheating on your spouse:
1. Flirting with anyone other than your own spouse
My husband and I have counseled numerous couples where one partner struggles with this. It’s toxic, and there is no scenario where flirting with anyone other than your own spouse is okay. Flirting is the gateway drug to adultery. We can tell ourselves that we’re just being “friendly” or “playing around”, but honestly, flirting is just a selfish boost to our own ego and a HUGE step towards committing adultery. We can flirt by giving an overly complimentary word, sending a funny text, or exchanging sexually-charged flirtatious banter in a phone call. No matter how we flirt, any flirtation outside the marriage only leads to a broken marriage. If you struggle with this, ask yourself “Why?”. Go to your spouse and talk about it. Seek out the admiration and affection of YOUR OWN SPOUSE and flirt with him/her only.
2. Giving more attention to your technology than your partner
In this day and age, this is especially difficult. I am a HUGE fan of technology, but I refuse to use it at the expense of my marriage and family. When we are with our spouse, we need to give him/her our full attention. Put down the phone, turn off the television, and get off the computer. Your wife is more important. Your husband is more interesting…I promise. Don’t let these moments pass. Life is too short. We must invest more time and effort into our marriage than we do our social media.
3. Making your spouse settle for your “leftovers” instead of your “best”
I think most of us can identify with this one. We’ll do our best to smile and be friendly to acquaintances at work, and then we’ll come home and be moody with our spouse and kids. It’s not fair to our loved ones. Our families deserve our BEST, not our leftovers. Our spouse shouldn’t have to deal with our bad attitude because we’re pouring out all day at work. Yes, we should be able to rest at home and just be ourselves…but this is not a license to say whatever we want to say, however we want to say it. We need to rise above our own feelings and approach our families with love every single day. I know this is easier said than done, but must do this to have a healthy marriage.
In a previous post, I talked about the dangers of having the wrong kind of friends and how they can affect a marriage. For more on this, read “The 4 Friends that are BAD for Your Marriage”. Friends are a tremendous blessing, but we cannot pursue friendships at the expense of our marriage. If I spend more time with my girlfriends than with my husband, my marriage is going to suffer. My husband, Dave, always says, “Time is the currency of relationships.”. The more time we invest, the more we become invested in the relationship. We all desire to have marriages where both of us are equally “invested”, right? So, we shouldn’t feel guilty telling our friends “No” when we need to spend that time with our family. No friend should be more important than your spouse, and a true friends understands this truth. In fact, a marriage is so much stronger and more enjoyable when your SPOUSE is also your BEST FRIEND. Read “6 Ways to be Your Spouse’s Bestie” for more.
5. Keeping secrets from your spouse
I know several marriages that are in serious trouble right now simply because their spouses won’t be completely honest with them. They tell “white lies” often. Lies–big and small–ruin marriages. There can be no secrets between a husband and wife. Secrets are the enemy of intimacy. We must tell the WHOLE TRUTH ALL THE TIME. How can we expect our spouse to trust us if we don’t? If you are caught in a web of white lies, I encourage you to come clean and seek forgiveness from God and your spouse. And, stop keeping secrets.
6. Constantly comparing your marriage to other marriages
The comparison trap can be so destructive and we will lose every time. Whether we long for the “perfect marriage” that our neighbors seem to possess, or we consider our union to be so much better than all our friends will ever have, our hearts are in the wrong place. What if we spent that mental energy in prayer instead of comparison? What if we humbled ourselves and let Him transform our hearts and minds to be more like Him? People are fickle, and no marriage is perfect. Only God can save our marriage and make it everything it should be…full of love, life, and purpose. That’s what we all want, right? The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, Friends. God gave us such a gift in our spouse and children. Let’s not get caught in the downhill spiral of dissatisfaction; that’s the only place the comparison trap will lead. Instead, let’s ask God to help us see the good in our partner. Ask Him to strengthen your marriage, and He will.
Friends, if you struggle with any of these, I promise you that you are not alone. We all make mistakes, but we don’t have to continue making them. There is hope for us.