I stumbled upon this article of 10 ways you are being unfaithful to your spouse — and you don’t even know it, and it is so terrible based on the headings alone that I was compelled to respond.
First, though, check out this phrasing from the intro: “Unfaithfulness usually creeps in through the back door”. It’s funny because Christians fear the gay!
On to the rebuttal.
Having a little playful fun at the office with a co-worker can’t be too bad, you may rationalize. After all, flirting is fun. Avoid it like the plague. It’s dangerous. If someone flirts with you, ignore it. What falls into the category of flirting? Here’s one explanation of what flirting is. “[It] usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater intimacy than the actual relationship between the parties would justify, though within the rules of social etiquette, which generally disapproves of a direct expression of sexual interest. This may be accomplished by communicating a sense of playfulness or irony… Body language can include flicking the hair, eye contact, brief touching, etc.”
Married people should never engage in this type of behavior with anyone other than their spouse. It is a full-on form of unfaithfulness that leads to no good. The one you’re flirting with may take it as an invitation and pursue a relationship you never intended.
Oh no! If only there were some way to communicate clearly to other people that you are faithfully married and have no desire to carry on an affair.
Oh wait, there is. You say, “I am faithfully married and have no desire to carry on an affair.”
See, flirting isn’t necessarily something people do on purpose, and even if it is, some people who flirt do so with no intention of having sex. Further, many people take even being nice as an invitation to enter a lifelong relationship.
2. Confiding in the opposite gender
When you pour out your troubles to someone of the opposite gender you are putting yourself in a vulnerable position. It may seem harmless. After all, you just needed a shoulder to cry on. If you’ve got a problem, talk about it with your spouse. That’s your best-ever shoulder to cry on. If that’s not working for you, try a trusted relative, clergyman, or therapist. Not someone who may consider this an invitation for intimacy. Even if it doesn’t start that way, too often it ends that way. It’s a form of unfaithfulness.
So this one has multiple levels of bad. First, it assumes everyone is straight in a world where being 100% straight is quite rare. Second, it assumes that every man finds every woman attractive and vice versa, which just isn’t true – and one-sided attraction is not the cause of an affair. Third, there are going to be some problems with which your spouse simply can’t help – my boyfriend will never understand my struggles after leaving religion on the level someone who has been through something similar would, and that’s totally fine. Fourth, relatives, clergy, and therapists have all been guilty of taking advantage of someone who has come to them for help.
There is a speck of truth here – you should be comfortable enough with your spouse to confide everything in them, and if you aren’t, that is a bad sign for the relationship. However, this does not mean that you are not allowed to have a support group of caring friends, regardless of gender!
3. Spending time alone with someone else
What appears to be an innocent lunch out with someone of the opposite sex or stopping by for a chat at that someone’s home without your spouse is definitely in the category of unfaithful behavior. You or the other person may say, “Hey, we’re both adults. Nothing’s going to happen.” Well, things do happen. It’s not appropriate. Go home and spend that time with your spouse.
Again, this appears to be forbidding someone from having friends. Isolating your spouse is a sign of abuse, you know.
4. Talking negatively about your mate
When you are a true friend to someone you never say bad things about them to others. Your mate is your best friend and is the last person you should ever talk about negatively. If you have a beef with your honey, talk it out with him or her. Let your conversations with others focus on the good things about your spouse. That’s being faithful. The exception here is abuse. If abuse is happening it needs to be reported to a trusted friend, counselor, and the police. You must keep yourself safe.
How do I put this… PEOPLE AREN’T PERFECT. Sometimes even a best friend has a negative quality, and there is nothing wrong with discussing how to deal with that with someone else, or for asking for suggestions on how to approach someone about a bad situation.
5. Chatting on the Internet with someone of the opposite sex
If you think this is harmless, think again. It may start out that way, but it definitely won’t end that way. Some have engaged in what they considered innocent talk with a former boyfriend or girlfriend from high school or college days, or even a stranger. One thing can lead to another and before you know it, your marriage is in jeopardy. Don’t do it. It will only end in sorrow and heartbreak for your family.
Nearly everything I said about number 2 applies here, as well. What if your spouse is far less talkative than you? I don’t have many friends to begin with, have a great deal of difficulty finding and keeping friends, and I tend to get along with males better than females – it doesn’t help that both my profession (programming) and greatest social passion (atheism / atheist activism) are extremely male-dominated. I personally have at least one relationship with a member of the opposite sex that is exclusively online – we have never talked on the phone or met in person.
This just smells of paranoia. If you don’t trust yourself to chat with someone online without it turning into an affair, you almost definitely should not be in the marriage you are.
6. Dressing to attract the attention of someone other than your spouse
If you’re dressing up to look good for someone else, you need to reexamine your motives. Trying to attract someone else by wearing a sexy looking outfit is one more way to jump into unfaithful waters.
Actually, this one I half agree with, but only half. You should dress up for one reason, and one reason only (unless you have to dress up for work): your own happiness. If you like to dress up for your significant other (I personally do), that’s great – but if you are dressing up for anyone else, you do have a problem. It isn’t being unfaithful, though – it’s not having a good view of yourself.
7. Writing personal intimate notes or letters to someone else
If you’re writing a letter of condolence or congratulations, or other good wishes, let it be from both you and your spouse. Then there will be no misunderstanding about your intentions.
So… no written communication unless the spouse is involved. Remember what I said earlier about isolation being a sign of abuse?
8. Not being a willing sexual partner with your spouse
Being faithful to your spouse means giving yourself over to him or her to enjoy the intimate side of your marriage. To withhold sexual intimacy from your spouse if [sic; is?] not doing your part in keeping your marriage strong and fulfilling. It creates sorrow and even suspicion. Being a faithful spouse means doing your part to make it a beautiful relationship in all aspects.
Does this include if your spouse has an STI? What if you’re pregnant or on your period (and don’t want to have sex while bleeding and crampy)? Honestly, while refusing sex can lead to affairs, the way it normally works is that the partner refusing sex is already cheating or the partner denied sex begins to cheat to get their needs met. I simply don’t see how having full control of your own consent, rather than giving that control fully to your partner, leads to you having an affair. It doesn’t make any sense.
9. Putting your parents before your spouse
Your spouse must always be the number one person in your life. If something wonderful happens to you, like a promotion, a confirmation of a pregnancy, or any other good news, you may be tempted to immediately call a parent to share in the joy. Resist. Let your spouse be the first to know your good news. Then share it with others.
I begrudgingly agree with this message – I would be unhappy if my boyfriend did not tell me good news before he told his parents (unless the good news was that he is ready to propose and is asking for advice – but I think he’s more like to tell me first anyway). However, if your mom or dad is sick, and you’re the only one able to care for them, your spouse is the jerkiest of jerks if they see you putting that at a higher priority than spending time with them as being unfaithful. That isn’t quite what the article says, obviously, but I can certainly see it being taken that far.
10. Putting your children before your spouse
Kids matter. They are very important people in your life, but not more important than your spouse. If you knock your spouse off the top of your priority list you are not showing total fidelity to him or her. Your mate must come first. Not only does it cement your marriage and make it stronger, it gives your children the best security blanket they will ever have.
I’ve never had children, so I cannot speak from experience here. However, this feels wrong. Your children are completely dependent on their parents first, while your significant other can, presumably, take care of themselves pretty well because they are an adult. Also, to suggest that putting taking care of a child might be unfaithful to the other parent of that child sounds pretty idiotic to me.
Check yourself on these points and make sure you are being 100 percent faithful to your spouse. By doing this you will create a genuinely happy and fulfilling marriage.
To me, this sounds like a recipe for a fearful and abusive marriage full of mistrust and assumption of guilty until proven innocent. If you really want “a genuinely happy and fulfilling” romantic relationship, the one rule you need most to follow is simply this: communicate openly, freely, and kindly with your significant other, sharing all of your needs, both met and unmet, and making sure you understand theirs to the best of your ability. If you both do that, you should prevent most common relationship problems. I think most cheating is the result of unmet needs, although I don’t think anyone knows for sure. Further, it is unreasonable to expect any one person to meet all of your needs, which is why we have friends.