Adultery: What Most Don’t Know About This Secret Sin

Committing adultery begins way before the actual act of infidelity

Is it infidelity or not? Most of what we deem as infidelity, or cheating, on one’s spouse, is defined by committing the act of having sexual relations with someone other than the person you are married to. Yet, according to the Bible, adultery isn’t defined by the act. The act is the culmination of many things that begin way before the act is actually committed. And the sad reality? Many of us are unfaithful to our spouses and don’t know it yet.

Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

Have you ever…

  • Watched pornography including pornographic videos, or photos online?
  • Looked at a member of the opposite sex and thought that they looked: “hot”, “smoking”, “sexy”, or had one of those, “If I were single…” moments?
  • Had sexual fantasies that you were with someone other than your spouse? What about while you were being intimate with your spouse? Doesn’t matter whether you know them or not, whether you would ever meet them or not, or whether they are out of your league.
  • Were attracted to someone other than your spouse and meditated on that attraction until you developed feelings- yet you haven’t acted on them?
  • Thought about kissing someone other than your spouse, or plotted fantasy conversations, or meetings with this person?
  • Allowed time with another person to take away time spent with your family/spouse? This person took precedence over everyone else.
  • Compared a member of the opposite sex to your spouse?
  • Does engaging with a certain member of the opposite sex make your spouse feel insecure?
  • Masturbated without your spouse?

Then you may have committed adultery already. You just don’t know it yet.

You see, we are taught to justify this list in the following way…


“There is nothing wrong with it. I’m not actually having sex outside of my marriage, so I’m not being unfaithful.” “I’m getting ideas of how to spice things up in the bedroom.”

We are taught that there is nothing wrong with pornography and are taught to tolerate it. We are fed the lie that it isn’t cheating on your spouse because there is no physical contact.

Yet, did you know that the act once discovered by your spouse feels like betrayal whether they would admit it or not? Why? Because it feels like they are being compared to another individual. If you were happy with the way they looked, the way they please you in the bedroom, or how you take care of their needs, then why would you have to look elsewhere?

Not to mention the fact that God gave us imaginations so that we could creatively find ways ourselves to spice things up sexually. We don’t really need porn- which takes our focus off of our spouse’s beauty and places it on another human being.

By this fact alone, because we are comparing our spouse to another, our focus isn’t on our spouse-which God gave us- to fulfill our needs, and that we no longer see the beauty in the person God gave us is, indeed, adultery.

Just One look…

Is all it takes to commit adultery. Matthew 5:27-28 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

So when we have thoughts that someone other than our spouse is “hot”, make lewd remarks, or even have lewd thoughts, we are sinning against our spouse. Again, it boils down to comparison.

Sexual Fantasies

We are told that sexual fantasies are harmless because we aren’t having sex with someone else… we are having it with our spouse!

Yet while you may be physically pleasing your spouse, you are not spiritually or mentally connected with your spouse. Whoever you fantasize about is the person that you are having sex with because there is a mental/spiritual connection that is being formed. If your heart belonged to your spouse, you would be intoxicated with their beauty. They would be a turn-on to you- not someone else.

Fantasies also harden our hearts to our spouse over time. We fail to see what is good about them because our focus is not on them. If it is about someone you know, this fantasy is even more dangerous…

Emotional affairs are more than just an “infatuation”

Most of us think that we are “safe” as long as we don’t have sex with someone outside of marriage. But the mere fact that you’ve thought about it, or are on your way to thinking about it already means that someone else is sleeping in your bed. This person is invisible, yet still there because they are in your heart- not your spouse.

Emotional affairs are when we are attracted to a member of the opposite sex. While we will find ourselves attracted to members of the opposite sex, and be flattered by it, emotional affairs begin when there is a heart change. Our thoughts turn toward that other person. Secret Rendez-vous in the back office, hushed conversations laced with overt sexual inuendos, sharing the intimate details of your life, discussing the unhappiness of your marriage to another man/woman, and looking forward to when you will see them next are all indications that your heart no longer belongs to your spouse.

This can arise from unmet needs, feelings of rejection/abandonment, or simply ego. But when we think about someone more than we think about our spouse, when we compare someone else to our spouse, and when our heart has turned, we are committing adultery. Sadly, in this case, what we meditate on goes into our heart. We are a few illicit thoughts away from a full-blown affair because what we think about is often what we end up doing.


A normal part of growing up? No, not really. We are to save ourselves- remain pure- until we are married. Masturbation whether you are married or not takes sexual gratification away from your spouse and places it on you. It says that you can satisfy yourself better than they can- that you don’t need them.

One we didn’t list was flirting. Flirting has the potential to severely damage a relationship because it builds feelings of mistrust. Also, there is usually a hint of truth to what comes out of our mouths.

Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Flirting is often littered with sexual innuendos (lewd speech). While we say that it’s “just for fun” it is still taking your focus off of your spouse and placing it on someone else. Also, what happens if they act on it? Our words have power. Worse yet, what if they take you seriously? Or you reject them and it turns into sexual harassment? Flirting is never worth the risk.

Chat rooms are worse because of the anonymity of it. There, you can be anyone you choose. And while you think that your spouse may never find out, or because you can say that you never “touched” this person, doesn’t make it right- or the betrayal of your heart to sting any less.

You see, what no one teaches you about this “secret sin” is that it begins within your thoughts, and in your heart. Anything that takes your focus off of your spouse is defiling your marriage bed. It is sending the message that your spouse can’t measure up, or is not good enough. No one should be made to feel that way.

While they may say that they are okay- and we can justify it- deep down, it hurts. If my spouse found me attractive, they would be focused on me- not someone else. I’ve been replaced/discarded in their heart. This is the truth of the matter.

Yet the good news is that once you realize that these things aren’t right, you are able to turn your focus back on to your spouse. You can admit what you’ve been doing/thinking to them, or to an accountability partner. Things can turn around if you avoid temptation, and focus on the beauty of your spouse. It is when you focus on the person that God gave you that you will find your greatest joy.

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