Roger Marsh: Since the Garden of Eden, the devil has sought to destroy the bond between a husband and wife. But sadly, we see many relationships fail by succumbing to various temptations. So, what can couples do to protect their marriages from sinful traps?
Roger Marsh: You're listening to Family Talk, a division of the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Roger Marsh, alongside your host, best-selling author and child psychologist, Dr. James Dobson.
Roger Marsh: And Dr., on today's broadcast, we are focusing on how unfaithfulness enters and ruins a marriage. Infidelity definitely has damaging ripple effects and that truly devastate every aspect of the family.
Dr. Dobson: Well, it certainly does. The family reaches every dimension of society. It affects the transmission of our values to the next generation and to generations to come. It influences the workplace, you know, when people are going through marital break-ups, they're not as effective in their jobs. It's entwined in everything that we do, and particularly the welfare of our children.
Roger Marsh: Boy, that is absolutely right. Unfortunately, we all know a reckless individual who has disregarded his/her sacred marital vows, and boy, it just makes a mess of everything. God does have a holy purpose for marriage. We must do everything we can to maintain a righteous and pure relationship with our spouse.
Roger Marsh: And today's broadcast features a presentation from an insightful guest on this difficult topic.
Dr. Dobson: Well, this will be a very practical and moving message for our listeners, I think. Our guest is Dr. David Jeremiah. He is a wonderful friend and has been for many years to Shirley and me.
Roger Marsh: Indeed, he has. Dr. David Jeremiah is the senior pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. He also founded Turning Point radio and television ministries, which broadcast on 2500 outlets worldwide. Dr. Jeremiah has written several best-selling books, including Captured By Grace and Hopeful Parenting. David and his wife, Donna, have been married for 56 years. They have four children and 12 grandchildren.
Roger Marsh: Now, what you're about to hear is an eye opening broadcast for anyone who may be entertaining thoughts of adultery. Many people don't realize that when they do, they are actually driving their relationship straight toward a bridge called infidelity. We pray that this broadcast acts as a warning flag for those marriages of the destruction that lies ahead.
Roger Marsh: Well, with that said, let's listen now to today's broadcast. Here now is Dr. David Jeremiah, as he speaks to his congregation on this edition of Family Talk.
Dr. Jeremiah: The August 15, 1994 edition of TIME Magazine shocked all of us when the front cover announced, "Infidelity: It May Be In Our Genes." The article subtitled, "Our cheating hearts," was written by Robert Wright, and began with these words, "The language of zoology used to be so reassuring. Human beings were called a pair bonding species. Lasting monogamy, it seemed, was natural for us, just as it was for geese, swans, and other winged creatures that have filled our lexicons with such labels as love birds and lovey dovey. Family values, some experts said, were in our genes. In the 1967 best-seller, The Naked Ape, zoologist Desmund Morris wrote with comforting authority that the evolutionary purpose of human sexuality is to strengthen the pair bond and maintain the family unit."
Dr. Jeremiah: Well, you don't have to be a PhD to see that "till death do us part" fidelity doesn't come naturally to people these days. And Robert Wright, who wrote this article on hereditary infidelity, is a senior editor at New Republic and adapted this TIMES article from his new book, Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology In Everyday Life.
Dr. Jeremiah: According to his findings, there is both good news and bad news for modern marriages. Here is what he wrote. "The good news is that human beings are designed to fall in love. The bad news is, they aren't designed to stay there. According to evolutionary psychology, it is natural for both men and women, at some times, under some circumstances, to commit adultery or to sour on a mate, to suddenly find a spouse unattractive, irritating, wholly unreasonable. It may even be natural to find some attractive colleague superior on all accounts to the sorry wreck of a spouse you're saddled with at home. When we see a couple celebrate a golden anniversary," said this author, "one apt reaction is the famous remark about a dog walking on two legs. The point is not that the feat was done well, but that it was done at all." End of quote.
Dr. Jeremiah: Please remember that this very depressing view of marriage came from an evolutionary psychologist. It's what you should expect from somebody like that. And please remember also, that when you go to a secular marriage counselor, it is quite possible that he has taken courses in evolutionary psychology and he may give you some warmed over evolutionary psychology.
Dr. Jeremiah: In fact, when I have met with couples who have come to see me after they have been to a secular counselor, I have often been surprised at how early in the counseling process the counselor has suggested divorce. If he has been taught that infidelity is one of the inevitable results of humanity, what else would you expect him to say? It's in the genes, it's part of who we are as human beings.
Dr. Jeremiah: Well, I hope you won't be too shocked to hear me say that I too have now come to believe that infidelity is hereditary. I think we got it from Adam and its real name is sin. It is a problem of immense proportions in our world today. We do ourselves no favors by finding some convenient atheistic philosophy to hide behind so that we can keep on doing what we want to do to feed our flesh. What we should do, and what we can do, is to review what God has to say about this and then develop a strategy and a plan of discipline to be obedient to him.
Dr. Jeremiah: I have no intention of laying guilt and hurt on anybody today. But the probability is someone is going to feel some hurt before this over. My purpose is not to tell you what you've done wrong, if you've done wrong, because you already know you've done wrong. But my hope and my heart is, that we can by some means prevent hurt and tragedy in the lives of our families.
Dr. Jeremiah: Dr. Ken Nichols and I, who talk often about these kinds of challenging things in our world today, have often said that it seems like too often we run an ambulance service at the bottom of the cliff. And when people fall off the cliff, we pick them up and put them in the ambulance and we take them to the counseling room and we try to put them back together. When we ought to be spending a lot more time at the top of the cliff with signposts and building fences and saying, "Don't go this way, because if you do, when you go over the edge, it's painful, and it's hurtful, and a lot of lives will be touched."
Dr. Jeremiah: So, my heart today is one of preventative counsel and encouragement. And I'm going to speak very plainly, because whenever you teach the word of God, that's the only option you have. And I want to ask you today, if you will, to turn in your Bibles to the book of Proverbs. And I'm going to ask us to look at some passages today. And we're going to talk, first of all, about the question, what is behind the growing infidelity in our culture? What is causing it? What is the reason for so much promiscuity and infidelity in our world?
Dr. Jeremiah: And it is not often that I have an outline so clearly presented to me in one verse of scripture, but there is an outline and it's my kind of outline in Proverbs 2:16. And I want you to find your place there. I want to read Proverbs 2:16 and following, and I want you to see the three things that the Proverbs writer has said is at the cause of infidelity.
Dr. Jeremiah: Notice, beginning at verse 16 of Proverbs chapter 2, "To deliver you from the immoral woman, and from the seductress who flatters with her words, who forsakes the companion of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God." Now, you will notice in those three lines there are three things that the writer of the Proverbs says happen in a marriage that is becoming infected with infidelity. Flattering words, forsaken companions, and forgotten covenants, all right there in that one verse. Did you ever see that before?
Dr. Jeremiah: Before we look at them individually, however, I want you to turn in your Bibles to the seventh chapter of the book of Proverbs and I want to read to you a modern story that probably could be seen on primetime television if someone wanted to put characters to it. And I want to read this story to you so that you understand that this book, the Bible, that I am preaching from today is not some old fashioned book that doesn't understand what goes on in life. Because what I'm about to read to you sounds like it could have been on television yesterday. It is the story of infidelity and how it happens. And it is graphic and it is clear.
Dr. Jeremiah: Reading in Proverbs 7, beginning at verse 6, "For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, and saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, a young man devoid of understanding, passing along the street near her corner; and he took the path to her house in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night. And there a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. She was loud and rebellious, her feet would not stay at home. At times she was outside, at times in the open square, lurking at every corner. So she caught him and kissed him; with an impudent," or shameless, "face she said to him: 'I have peace offerings with me; today I have paid my vows. So I came out to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I have found you. I have spread my bed with tapestry, colored coverings of Egyptian linen. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he has taken a bag of money with him, and will come home on the appointed day.' And with enticing speech she caused him to yield, and with her flattering lips she seduced him. And he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter."
Dr. Jeremiah: Pretty graphic, isn't it? Sounds like it could have been in the soaps yesterday, or tomorrow, or some other time. It's the story of infidelity and it hasn't changed much over the centuries, has it? It's the same old story. And lest you think this is biased toward the sin of the woman as opposed to the man, that's simply the way it was told in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament and it has no more of an indictment against the woman than against the man. It is simply the story of what happens in infidelity.
Dr. Jeremiah: Now, I said there are three things that cause it, which we learn in Proverbs 2. First of all, flattering conversation. Flattering conversation. Jim Dobson, the family expert that we all listen to everyday on Christian radio, says that there are certain voices that would lure a person away from the straight life. He says the straight life is the life of giving yourself to your spouse and your children, working, paying the bills, being faithful.
Dr. Jeremiah: He said there are four voices that often lure people away from the straight life, and here are the voices. Number one, pleasure, which says, "Come on, have fun, life is passing you by." The second voice is the voice of romanticism, someone who cares, someone interested in you as a person, someone who wants to love you. The third voice is the voice of sex, the pure pleasure of the physical act. And the fourth voice is the voice of ego needs, someone finds you attractive for your mind, your tastes, your talents.
Dr. Jeremiah: Dr. Dobson did a survey among those who had been caught in the trap of infidelity and talking very honestly with them about what caused it. He was shocked to discover that sex was at the very bottom of the scale of these reasons, and ego needs was at the very top. And he said that most of these situations began, not with any kind of physical attraction at all, but with conversations that met the ego needs in the life of those who were having the discussion. Sometimes needs that were not being met at home because you know as well as I do how difficult it is our families today for us to find the time even to talk with one another and to encourage one another in our relationships.
Dr. Jeremiah: So, here is an individual, who has no intention whatsoever of violating the law of God, but he gets involved in a flattering conversation and it is the beginning of his downfall.
Dr. Jeremiah: Now, go back with me to the book of Proverbs, and let's see how very carefully this is chronicled for us. In verse 10, the writer says, "And there a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart." And I underlined that in my Bible. And she said, with a shameless face, and then there's her whole conversation. She's talking to him about she has prepared her chamber and how she's come out to meet him and she's perfumed her bed.
Dr. Jeremiah: And at the end of that passage, it says, "With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, and with her flattering lips she seduced him." With her conversation, with her speech, with what she said. That's how he got trapped in this situation.
Dr. Jeremiah: The first thing that happens, according to the book of Proverbs, that begins to tear away at the fabric of a marriage and opens someone up to infidelity is flattering conversations. I'll have more to say about that in a few moments, but may be a good thing to do would be to just review the conversations that you've had in the past few days with members of the opposite sex to whom you are not related. What kind of conversations do you allow? And do you realize how powerful conversation is in the process of leading you away from the straight and narrow path?
Dr. Jeremiah: Well, the second thing in Proverbs chapter 2, along with flattering conversations, is so very interesting, it's forsaken companions. It says, "Who forsakes the companion of your youth." Now, that says to us that whenever there is the beginning of something going wrong out there, that quite often there is a reason for it in here. And I'm going to read a passage to you, this passages talks about what happens when we forsake our companion. And it tells us what to do so that we don't forsake our companion.
Dr. Jeremiah: So, are you ready for this? This is a great passage of scripture for husbands and wives. Proverbs 5:15, "Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth."
Dr. Jeremiah: There's that passage, that little phrase again, isn't it? The wife of your youth. And in the New Testament, Paul the Apostle makes it very clear that this is not Old Testament wisdom. For in the marriage chapter, which is the seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians, he says this to husbands and wives, and I want you to listen particularly to his conclusion.
Dr. Jeremiah: "Let the husband render to his wife the affection that is due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again," now listen carefully, "so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
Dr. Jeremiah: What is he saying? He's saying that one of the surest defenses that you can rear up around your family and around your house and around your marriage is the defense of a very strong relationship between you and your spouse at home. If I can be so bold to say it, if you want to keep infidelity out of your life, keep it hot at home. That's all I can say, keep it hot at home.
Dr. Jeremiah: Now, make sure that when you tell somebody I said that, you tell them I said it in context, all right? And if you're not sure you can do it in context, you buy the tape and let them listen to it for themselves. Because I don't want to be misunderstood.
Dr. Jeremiah: But do you understand how very valid this principle is from the book of Proverbs? What causes infidelity? Flattering conversation and forsaken companions. Isn't that interesting? Here's the third one, forgotten covenants. The writer of the book of Proverbs says, "And forgets the covenants of her God."
Dr. Jeremiah: I went back through all of these sections at the beginning of the book of Proverbs, and there's about five major sections, as you open the book of Proverbs, it's one of the first primary things that the wisdom literature talks about. And before the warnings come about immorality, there's a little section that precedes it, and the section usually is this, "Hear my words, listen to the words of my wisdom, do not forsake the counsel of my godly instruction, etc., etc., etc., and then you will be protected from this." Don't forsake the covenants of your God.
Dr. Jeremiah: But unfortunately today, very little time and space and energy and effort is given to the covenants. I came across a book in preparing this message written by Jerry Jenkins, who is a great writer. Back in 1989, he wrote a book called, Hedges. And it's an incredible book, and if you ever see it in a used bookstore, or if someone has it and you can borrow it and read it, you ought to do it. Basically, what it is, it's a story of the hedges that he built around his marriage as a gift to his wife. It's a really thrilling thing to see how creatively this man thought this whole thing through.
Dr. Jeremiah: In his book, Jerry bemoans the fact that there is simply not enough emphasis on wedding vows any more. He thinks this is one of the most significant problems in modern marriage. We say our vows once and we never repeat them. And he suggests that couples find creative ways to continually remind each other of their promises to each other at the altar. And he even came up with some ideas of how we can creatively remind each other of our wedding vows.
Dr. Jeremiah: And I must agree that sometimes when I perform a wedding and we go through the vows down here, first of all, I know that the people who are saying them aren't thinking about them because they are freaked out. It's their wedding day, right? And these are words that are just passing through their mouth. Sometimes I want to say to them, "Look at the bride, don't say those words to me. I don't want to hear them." They get so confused, they don't even know who to say their vows to! Let alone, remember them.
Dr. Jeremiah: But after that's over, quite often we never say our vows again. We don't often think of them again unless we watch a video tape of our wedding. Well, Jerry Jenkins says we ought to make a project out of this. He says, here's one way you can do it, write out slips that contain your wedding vows, particularly those that refer to remaining sexually faithful. And at the end of each slip, leave a clue for where your wife can find the next one. Then hide them around the house and in the garage.
Dr. Jeremiah: Mail the first one home, it might say, "Keeping you." And then, "Look for another message in the freezer." When she looks in the freezer, she finds another message that says, "Only unto me." And, "Look for another message in the car." In the car, the slip reads, "For as long as," and points her to the mantle over the fireplace. Then she finds a note that says, "As we both, and look for a message in the junk drawer." And there a message reads, "Shall live." And I read that and I thought, there's not one man in a hundred thousand that would ever do that. I mean, let's forget that one. I mean, that's a great idea, but I'm not taking a vote today. Jerry Jenkins is a unique man. Remember, he's a writer.
Dr. Jeremiah: But he does have some other good ideas that I thought I would share with you beyond this one. He says you might call her at home or at work and just say to her these words, "I made this vow to you 32 years ago and I still mean it. I will keep only unto you, as long as we both shall live, or until Christ, who has saved us by his grace, returns to take us unto himself forever." Now, that would be a refreshing call during the middle day, wouldn't it?
Dr. Jeremiah: Then he says you might try sending your vows in a telegram or a mail gram. You might even have someone do it up in calligraphy or have it printed so you can decoupage it. I've heard of people having their vows written in icing on the cake, chiseled into a rock, burned into wood, written in moist dirt in the front yard. He said, "A friend of mine spent a couple of hours forming the letters to his vows in tiny bits of twig, then he set them up on a cement slab in front of the door of his house, only to see his wife miss their significance and sweep them off the porch into the grass." And I think that couple is still married, I really do. I think they're still together.
Roger Marsh: Oh, boy. Well, that's an encouraging note to end today's broadcast. You've been listening to a meaningful presentation from Dr. David Jeremiah here on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Roger Marsh: Dr., I hope our listeners will be able to apply his timeless wisdom on this topic.
Dr. Dobson: Well, Dr. Jeremiah really has an ability to put complex ideas and understandings into very simple language. And he certainly did that today.
Dr. Dobson: One of the things that I appreciate so much about this message is that we really have to be aware that seemingly innocent actions can turn into bigger matters that have some very significant consequences over time.
Roger Marsh: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: And that's a very telling concept.
Roger Marsh: Well, couples must intentionally build defenses around their marriages to avoid, as you said, those larger problems, Dr. And now, we're not saying that when sin damages a marriage it's over, of course, but if couples remain faithful to each other and allow forgiveness to enter into the relationship, healing can occur. This is a concept that, Dr., you talk about in your book, Love Must Be Tough. And for anyone who is in a struggling marriage right now, you definitely want to get your hands on this resource.
Roger Marsh: You can discover how to fight through any crisis and rekindle your relationship with your spouse. Request your copy of Love Must Be Tough by visiting today's broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org. There you'll also find more information about David Jeremiah and his ministry as well.
Roger Marsh: So, you'll find that at drjamesdobson.org. Go there now and click on to our broadcast page.
Dr. Dobson: You know, Roger, I want to take just a moment here at the end of the program to remind our listeners that this broadcast and this ministry are totally dependent upon listener support. And we do need a little boost at this time.
Roger Marsh: That's right, Dr. During the summer months, every ministry struggles, and we are no exception, of course. We need your generous contributions right now to continue in the word the Lord has called us to.
Roger Marsh: Learn how to join us in the fight for the family by going to drjamesdobson.org, or by calling 877-732-6825. Again, our number is 877-732-6825.
Roger Marsh: Well, thanks for listening to today's program and be sure to join us again tomorrow to hear the conclusion of Dr. David Jeremiah's message on protecting your marriage. That's coming up right here next time on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Roger Marsh: I'm Roger Marsh, have a blessed day.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.