You see, if they gave degrees for life experiences, I would have a PhD in adulterers and the people who love them. In childhood, our first male authority figures are often the father and the pastor. I once heard Dr James Dobson say that how we relate to God is formed by those early male authority figures. My father was also my pastor and he was also an adulterer..a serial adulterer, I now realize. Even my father's spiritual mentor (also a pastor) was an adulterer with children from those relationships!
I'm not telling my family's secrets. This was exposed for all the world to see and for us to deal with right along side of him. I know what it is to be the child of an exposed adulterer. We shared the embarrassment, public humiliation, and harassment. We also were caught in the middle of so much family turmoil and anger between our parents.
My "first truth" formed by these situations was "all men--even men of God--cheat". To me, that was just a fact and nothing in my life contradicted it.
I married young to get out of that turmoil--we were in the middle of a huge adulterous scandal when I got engaged. In time I was devastated to realize I had married a serial adulterer! I lived in that situation--forgave--started over--raised our sons, for over thirty years before I finally said "enough!".
Does the word adulterer or adulteress make you squirm? We try to say things "nicer" so as not to make people uncomfortable. We say "cheated", "unfaithful" or "strayed". But we, as God's people, need to face it with stark honesty to change what we are doing. In the church, we have no problem saying homosexual and pointing out that sin, but adultery, and fornication, we dance around and too often give it a pass as though it were less "sinful". Divorce and adultery rates are no different in the church than in the world...we must face this reality and change it!
Now, what are some characteristics of a serial adulterer (male or female)?
A serial adulterer is usually a good family man or woman. Don't demonize an adulterer. They are good people in many ways. They may be good parents, good workers, good servants in their church. God has given them gifts and talents, which they may or may not be using. They may love their parents and their spouse--in their own way. But they have raised their lustful desires above everything else in their life, including God.
A serial adulterer has one affair at a time, usually with long breaks in between. They are not "players" or promiscuous. They do not usually have one-night stands.
A serial adulterer loves the excitement of falling in "love" and having those feeling reciprocated. They enjoy the newness of the relationship and all the "good things" without any of the mundane unpleasant things of their marriage.
For a serial adulterer, it is often not just about sex. It is everything that goes along with new "love". It is sometimes about getting the things they feel are lacking at home.
A serial adulterer has a strong need for attention and affirmation. It is often about ego-building.
A serial adulterer will become distant from their spouse. Their thoughts are consumed with their lover. The desire to feel "faithful" to their lover causes them to avoid sex and intimate contact with their spouse. They may even try to provoke arguments to feel "justified" in their affair.
A serial adulterer will disappear and have "unaccounted" times. Not just the small time periods it would take for a sexual encounter. They want to spend extended time with their new-found love. They try to do this without raising suspicions, but they will become less cautious. Though they don't believe it, in time their carelessness will get them caught. All Satan wants is to get you to believe a lie. They believe the lie that they won't ever get caught.
As with all adulterers, their behavior will change. I heard of one woman hearing her husband sing in the shower--unusual behavior. He was singing a love song that was not their song! Red flag!
When a serial adulterer is caught, they will say and do ANYTHING to preserve their marriage. They do not want to be married to their lover. They want the marriage, family, happy, respectable home AND the excitement of a lover on the side. When push comes to shove, they will end the affair...or at least try to end it..to save their home and family life.
In my experience, with the exception of a "Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus" miracle, a serial adulterer does not stop. They try and they may go a few years, but they will cheat again. You will repair your marriage, rebuild your trust only to have it torn apart again.
The sad part is that when the first affair is exposed, you won't know if this is a one-time affair or if they are a serial adulterer. That takes years and many heartbreaks before you know for certain.
Am I recommending divorce? No, you must pray and listen to the Holy Spirit. God hates divorce...it rips apart families and breaks covenants, but affairs do also. The only thing I will say about divorce is that until you have no strong emotion---love OR hate--you are not ready for divorce.
I am writing these things because I believe knowledge is power. Ignorance is darkness and it is where Satan rules. He cannot wreak havoc over an area of your life where you have knowledge! Don't believe the lie "if it feels good, do it" or that it is "chemistry". No! It is a demon of lust sent to destroy your family and thwart God's purpose for your life! See the big picture beyond your pain. But if you have knowledge, it will not succeed!
What if you are married to someone who has been hurt by a serial adulterer? Well, this is what William has done for me: he is an open book--with his cell phone, his social media accounts, everything he does. He has been honest, open and trustworthy. He is a healing balm for my wounds. He doesn't put himself in compromising, questionable situations. He is a man of God who says what he means and does what he says. He treats me with love and respect and lets me know in so many ways how much he loves me. He treats me like a queen. A wife can't ask for more than that! (UPDATE: It has been four years since I wrote this blog. We have now been married over 7 years and everything I've said about him is still true. He has been consistent and trustworthy all these years!)
There is life after an affair and even life after a divorce. God heals and restores and uses once-cracked, willing vessels. ~~Be blessed, Arlene