How To Have An Affair
September 10-11, 2005
[This message begins with a short narrated video sharing the story of a couple who met in school, married, and lived happily ever after…or did they?]
Love Affair. Against the backdrop of that title, I want to teach you from this stage how to have an affair. That’s right. We’re gonna leave here in a couple of moments and we will all know how to have an affair. I’ve talked to hundreds and hundreds of couples during my life who have had affairs. I’m an expert on the subject. I’ve never had one. Lisa’s never had one. But I’ve learned how to have an affair. I’ve read the emails. I have file folders full of letters about affairs, and I’ve had telephone conversations with people right in the middle of it. So, if you’re taking notes, write down these words. This is how to have an affair.
No one wakes up one morning and rolls out of bed and says to themselves, “Hey, today I’m gonna break the seventh commandment. Today I’m going to commit adultery and have an affair. Yeah!” No, it doesn’t happen that way. The path to promiscuity is very predictable; it’s very methodical. And we’re gonna learn how to have an affair. But let me just put your minds at ease. I’m gonna read some stuff and share some things with you. I’m not gonna spill any secrets. I’m not gonna betray any confidences, but I am gonna share with you the Cliff’s Notes of all the conversations I’ve had regarding how to have an affair.
HOW TO HAVE AN AFFAIR
CONVINCE YOURSELF THAT IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO YOU
Number 1: Here’s what you do—you convince yourself that it cannot happen to your marriage. That’s the first thing you’ve gotta do if you wanna to have an affair. You say it yourself over and over and over again. I cannot have an affair. There, there is no way I’m gonna end up in the bed of a third party. It’s not gonna happen to me. I, I’m, I’m not gonna do it. There’s no way we’re gonna have an affair. We’re not gonna have it! Just, just say that. Say it over and over and over, because what that will help you to do, it will help you to put your marriage on cruise control. It will help you to be just be very apathetic and, and very predictable as a spouse and then you crank out a couple of kids and you’re gonna chase the career Dad. And Mom, you’re gonna sort of orbit your life around the needs of the kids and you, you and you have marital drift going on and when you have marital drift going on and you say, hey, it cannot happen to me, we’re not gonna have an affair, guess what? You are setting yourself up for an affair. It’s just a matter of time before you have an affair. It’s just a matter of time before you end up in the wrong bed. It will happen. So we need to learn how to do this, okay? How do ya have an affair? Well, that’s what you do, you say, it can’t happen to me. It can’t happen to me. It can’t happen to me.
CULTIVATE THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE THIRD PARTY
Number 2: Cultivate your relationship with this third party. Because lets face it, we’re men and women here. All of us. We’re either a man or a woman. Am I talking too fast? We’re sexual creatures, and we’re gonna be attracted to members of the opposite sex. That’s just gonna happen. I use to think 24 years ago before I got married, “Well, man, once, once I get married I guess I’ll never be attracted to members of the opposite sex.” I really thought that. (I was young when I got married.) Lisa and walked down the wedding runner. We went to Hawaii on our honeymoon and I saw this girl by the pool, I was like, “Whoa!” Was, was something wrong with me? No, we’re gonna be attracted to members of the opposite sex.
So when you click with someone at work, someone around the neighborhood, someone at the health club, don’t just click with them and go, “Okay, see you later.” No, cultivate that relationship, you know. Talk to them. Just think thoughts in your mind like this; just think thoughts like, “What would it be like to spend more time with them alone?” Just, just think that. And then think this, “What would it be like to hold them? Ah, that’s not a bad thought. I’m alone with them, just hold them. That’s kind of innocent.”
But you can’t stop at something that’s innocent. Because remember you’ve gotta have an affair. I’m teaching you how to have an affair. You then began to drop some kinda flirtatious remarks. You drop those remarks and you see how the person takes them. “Oh—ha, ha—they responded. Wow!” After a while you begin to drop hints to the person. You know those hints like, “Hey, man, if I were single—woo!” “Man your husband sure is fortunate.” All those little comments, you know?
“What would it be like just to go out to lunch with them alone?” “What would it be like to hold them?” It’s just fantasy. Say to yourself, “What would it be like to have relations with them? Sexual relations?” You’ve thought about it; just think about it more and more and then all of a sudden, visions of romantic dinners dance in your head and Caribbean cruises dance in your head and throw in to, to that whole mix a little bit of a romance novel, little bit, little bit of movies, and maybe a little soft porn, and you’re on your way. I’m telling you, you’re on your way to having an affair. It’s just a matter of time because you’re cultivating this relationship. You’re talking to the person now and sharing stuff about your life.
So, convince yourself it’s not going to happen to you. Number 2, cultivate the relationship with the third party.
COMPARE YOUR SPOUSE TO THE OTHER PARTY
Number 3: Ah good, this is huge! Compare your spouse to the other party. Just start comparing. Compare their looks, their walk, their talk, their physique, their reaction, their laugh, their personalities. Just compare. Let your mind go wild. This is good stuff man. This is how to have an affair. I’m telling you! Yeah, maybe you have, but I’m not sure you’ve talked to anyone who’s talked to as many people as I have in the middle of an affair. So, I don’t know if Oprah knows this stuff this good or Dr. Phil. Really, I’ve grown up in a pastor’s home and you know Dad’s written books on the subject. And I’ve been pastor here 15 years and I’ve written books on the subject. And I’ve interviewed people from all walks of life. This is cool. This is good stuff. This is good stuff.
CONNECT BY HAVING SEX
Number 4: Finally—you know this—have sex with them. Connect by having sex. You simply do physically what you’ve been doing mentally and emotionally for a long time. You have sexual intercourse with a third party. Now you’ve committed adultery and you’ve had an affair. Yeah! The ecstasy and the pleasure and the fun and the thrills and chills of it! Yeah! Yeah!
Now it’s very important at this point to pour yourself a cocktail. In fact, maybe a couple of cocktails because you need to pour yourself a cocktail of compromise. You see, you want to drink this cocktail, two of them, because you’ve gotta have something to numb the pain and the guilt. You see what I’m saying? So you [Ed makes gulping sounds] drink it, and you know, you say to yourself, “Hey, everything’s cool. I mean, no big deal.” And you begin to lie. You know lie to yourself, like, you say, “You know I—uh—married the wrong person. I, I didn’t love this person when I got married. I mean, I was forced into it man.” Ahh. Oh, yeah, then say this, say to yourself, “God wants me to be happy. “ You say that over and over. “God wants me to be happy. God wants me to be happy. God wants me to be happy.” Turn it over on the rotisserie grill of your mind. Here’s something else you’ve gotta say, “God’s a forgiving God; he’ll forgive me. He will, I mean, I know he will.”
I’ve told you how to have an affair. All the pleasure, the passion, the ecstasy, sneaking around, clandestine meetings in a hotel, romantic dinners. You take the business trip and this person shows up. It’s awesome! It’s awesome. Oh, really?
[Ed begins reading a letter]
Our marriage was not perfect but it was ours and it was all we knew. He was my best friend and I trusted him totally. There were signs, I didn’t ignore them, but I became suspicious and very observant. I finally got up the nerve to ask him point blank, face to face, “Are you and your co-worker having an affair?” My husband, and best friend of many years, looked me right in the eyes and lied.
There were times when I knew he was talking with her on the phone. Many times I would put my hand on the phone receiver by my bed and consider picking it up and listening; then I’d know for certain. No more speculating, but I couldn’t do it because if it were true, it would hurt too much and what would I do?
Finally, my suspicions were replaced with fact. My thoughts and actions spun out of control. I became obsessed with the lies, the details of the affair, and the events that led to it. I kept trying to put all the puzzle pieces together. I was taken over by obsessions. Images of my husband his lover would flash through my mind day and night. I constantly woke to dreams of him and her in bed together. It would play over and over and over. I stopped feeling positive about myself and about life. It was all negative, jealous, enraged, diminished, bitter, frightened, lonely, ugly, mistrustful, exposed.
His deception blinded me from how I saw myself. I started doubting and questioning everything about myself. I thought it must be me. I must have caused this affair to happen. I must change myself. I felt the fate of our marriage was in my hands.
[End of letter]
Is that what you want? Is that the kind of stuff that you want to sign up for? As I’ve said, I’ve talked to hundreds of couples who faced adultery. And every single person, eventually, whose committed adultery has come back to me and said this—are you ready?—“Ed, I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could reverse the process.” The process to promiscuity is painful and methodical. The process of having a true love affair with your spouse is also methodical, but it’s not painful. It’s awesome.
In John 8:44, Jesus is talking about the evil one. “…He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” This process that I just described to you regarding how to have an affair, it’s full of lies. Just lies. Half truths. Lies. Deception. And the evil one takes people down the same path. The same predictable path of promiscuity. Over and over and over and over and over again.
HOW TO HAVE AN AFFAIR WITH YOUR SPOUSE
Well, let’s reverse the process, what do ya say? Let’s take this process and reverse it. I wanna talk to you now about how to have a love affair with your spouse.
CONVINCE YOURSELF THAT IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU
Number 1: Convince yourself that it can happen to you. It can happen to you. I don’t care who you are. If you’re on the stage, if you’re singing, if you’re playing an instrument, if you’re speaking, if you’re sitting there on the floor, in the balcony, if you’re driving by on the freeway—Hey! It can happen! “Well, man, I don’t believe that.” “Ed, I’m not sure.” Think about David. A man after God’s own heart the scriptures say. I don’t think any of us here will ever love God like David did. I know I won’t and you won’t either. I know your name is not gonna be in the Bible and mine won’t either. So if it can happen to David, it can happen to you and you and you and you and even me. The right person, the right place, the right time. Don’t ever sit there and say, “Oh, no, no, no. I’m above that, man. I’m on the next level, man.”
1 Corinthians Chapter 10, Verse 13 says, “If you’re tempted….” Is that what it says? “Maybe sometimes you might be tempted….” No, no, no. It says, “When you’re tempted….” We’re gonna be tempted. I’m on my honeymoon at the Mona Kai Hotel sitting with Lisa by the pool; see some beautiful woman walk by. Oh, man. When you’re tempted, the attraction is not the sin. We’re gonna be attracted to the opposite sex. That’s not the sin; the sin is what you do with the attraction. When the attraction segues into a deadly action you began to paint the pictures in the mind, and you begin to lust after a person. That is where it goes south.
Now how about singles? We have a lot of singles here. Maybe you’re a student or whatever. Do you realize if you are involved in sex, premarital sex, you are committing adultery? You’re committing adultery before God. You are committing adultery against your future spouse and also you’re setting yourself up to commit adultery after you walk down the wedding runner with your spouse. So don’t sit there and think, “Well, this is not for me. I can count ceiling tiles and lights.” No, no, this is for everybody. For everybody.
So we have to be as Jesus said, “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.” We’ve gotta think. We’ve gotta be smart. We’ve gotta be aware. And we’ve gotta use the brains that God’s given us. We’ve gotta have wisdom when it comes this situation. So, if I’m gonna have a love affair with Lisa, I’ve got to commit to myself and she’s does too. It can happen to us.
CULTIVATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SPOUSE
Number 2: Cultivate your relationship with your mate. Cultivate it. Don’t cultivate the relationship with a third party. That’s where the wheels come off. Man, we start sharing all this intimate stuff with a third party about our marriage, about how we feel about stuff. Don’t do that. Keep it on the surface. Keep it on the surface. And when you’re talking to someone always bring up your spouse and talk about your spouse in a positive light. The Bible says we should not even have a hint of sexual immorality. Not even a hint.
And God is pro-sex, I hope you know that. He wants us to practice sex within the confines of marriage. One man, one woman, together. But we’re to cultivate our relationship. Lisa and I are revising a book that we wrote years ago. It’s already in its fourth printing. It’s called “The Creative Marriage.” And we simply just took some principles from marriage and wrote them down in a book, and it really sold like wildfire. So we’ve gone back and we’ve visited this book. We’ve been writing over the last several weeks and tweaking it and all that stuff. And one of the things we talk about throughout the book is this; it’s something called the MWE. You know what that is in marriage? The Marital Work Ethic, MWE. The marital work ethic.
Some people, I think, see Lisa and I and think, “Oh, man. You know, Ed, you and Lisa have been married 24 years, I know you’re Christians and your leaders at Fellowship Church and I’m sure your marriage just works. It’s just automatic, systematic…. I’m sorry to rain on all your presuppositions, but no, it doesn’t just work. It’s not a natural thing because I am a self-centered person. I say things I shouldn’t say. I think things I shouldn’t think. I do things I shouldn’t do. So does Lisa. We have to work at our marriage. For 24 years we have worked at our marriage. And many times we don’t feel like working on our marriage. We work on our marriage. We’re very, very intentional about it.
We’ve gone through dry seasons. We’ve gone through seasons when we’re on a roll. We’ve gone through all of that. But I can tell you with complete confidence that Lisa and I have a stronger love today than we did 30 years ago when we first met, when we were about 15 years old. It’s because of the MWE. Whenever you see or feel that marital drift happening, and it will happen, you’ve got to be the one to step up and step out to take the initiative and to ride the crest of creativity. Because if we are not careful, pursuit, if left unchecked, can lead to predictability. You remember in the early days of your relationship when you’re dating, man, everybody is pursuing one another. He’s pursuing you, you’re pursuing him and pursuit and passion and all that stuff. And you get married and it’s cool and all of a sudden, what happens? Predictability, monotony, throwing in a couple of kidssssss.
Revolve your lives around the career and the kids and you know what happens. You know what happens. Lisa and I have to work harder to have a date night today than we did 10 years ago. We have to work harder to carve time off for us to take several trips together alone. And we have to work harder today than we even did 10 years ago. But I’m going to tell you something. Every sacrifice, every trip, every thing we’ve done has been worth it.
So, cultivate your relationship with your mate. And when you see someone you’re attracted to, here’s something that I challenge you to do because I do this. Are you ready for this? Let me say it this way. Borrow pain from the future. Borrow pain from the future. You see someone at the office, around the neighborhood, whatever, borrow pain from the future. “Okay. If I hook up with this person who I see at the health club or wherever, and I know this person, we’re connecting and all this. If I take this to the next level, what is gonna happen? Man, I’m gonna sign up for some serious pain. Some serious pain.”
How many of you used to watch professional wrestling? I mean the real stuff, not that this new stuff. I mean the real stuff? Rick “Nature Boy” Flare, you remember him? How about Dusty Rhodes, the American Dream, remember Dusty Rhodes? Dusty Rhodes used to say this all the time [Ed gestures like Dusty], “There’s gonna be some serious pain tonight in the house.” I love that guy! The American Dream! 268 pounds of sweet soul. Think about the pain of adultery. Before God, sitting down with your spouse, and telling them. Sitting down with your kids and telling them. Your co-workers, family members. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it.
Some of you here I know are thinking about committing adultery. You’re right there on the edge, on the ledge. Others are in an adulterous relationship right now. Some others have committed adultery; maybe you’ve come clean. Maybe some of you walked in here and said, “There’s no way this could happen to me.” We’ve got to convince ourselves it can happen. We’ve gotta cultivate our relationship with our mate and stop this connection we have with someone we’re attracted to in its early stages. Just keep it on the surface. Don’t go past that. Don’t walk by the person’s office. Don’t run around the neighborhood when you know this person might be outside. Don’t joke at the gym when you know this person is gonna be there. Whatever, just don’t do it.
You remember Joseph? Joseph, man, when he was tempted, he just got out of there. That’s what the Bible says, “Flee sexual immorality.” What does the word “flee” mean? FLEE—that’s what it means! There’s just sometimes you’ve just got to run! You know, you’ve gotta get out. So convince yourself it can happen. Cultivate your relationship with your mate.
COMPARE YOUR SPOUSE TO CHRIST
Number 3: Here’s something else jotted down—Compare your spouse to Christ. Hello! Compare your spouse to Christ. If you compare your spouse—which I know you have done—with someone else, when you do that, or when I do that, that’s unrealistic. What are we doing, man? We’re comparing reality with fantasy. Let’s say someone at work has caught your eye. Or you see him or her always putting their best foot forward, always dressed, always smiling, always polite, always have nice breath and white teeth and whatever. You know, all this stuff. Well, that person is not your spouse. I mean, you see your spouse, we see our spouse warts and all, don’t we? We see the real deal—mortgage payments and car repairs and kids and homework and all that stuff—so it’s just fantasy versus reality.
And what’s so sinister about adultery is this, is that all these people I know in my life who have committed adultery, they step over the line, they dive into the pool, they end up in the deep weeds and they end up facing the same junk that they didn’t deal with in their marriage. And it’s even whacker. They spend all this money and time and energy and creativity and innovation with this other person when they could just stop and water their own grass.
2 Corinthians Chapter 10, Verse 5 says, “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Every thought. You’re in Hawaii with your new bride, you see the girl, “Whoa! I’ve gotta take that thought captive. Whooo! Erase! Delete! Delete! Delete!” Every thought. Does this thought honor you Lord or not? If it doesn’t, throw it out! Delete! Delete! Delete! “Yeah, but God wants me to be happy.” No, he doesn’t; he wants our obedience. “Well, you know, I didn’t mean it, you know, at the altar.” You said it before God. It’s a covenant, not a contract. “Well, God will forgive me.” Now wait a minute. Please, please, please, don’t even say that. What are we doing now? Premeditated sin?
Yeah, God will forgive, but he’s not going to remove the consequences. What if I walked outside and jumped into my truck and motored over to a bank here in Grapevine, what if I robbed a bank tonight? I could probably do it. What if I did that? I was like [Ed mimics driving a getaway car], “These police can’t catch me.” Oh, they’d get me, cuff me. [In a singsong voice] Bad boy, bad boy…. I’d be behind bars, in Huntsville, maybe 20 years. You’d be like, “Man, Ed robbed that bank. Man, I couldn’t believe it! He’s our Senior Pastor. He just left church and robbed the bank! What if I got down on my knees in that cell floor, “Lord, forgive me! Lord, cleanse me. Lord, I’m sorry.” I would think God would forgive me, but he’s not going to take away the consequences. I’m still facing 20 in the slammer! So, yeah, will God forgive your adulterous relationship? Yes, but you know what, you are going to face some serious pain in the house.
CONNECT WITH YOUR SPOUSE REGULARLY
Number 4: The fourth thing I have written down here about how to have an affair with your spouse: Connect with your spouse regularly. Connect with your spouse regularly. And that has to do with conversation, it has to do with emotional connection, has to do with physical connection. We’re to connect regularly. We’re to serve one another. We’re to serve one another in all those ways that we could even think of. In fact, our relationship, as you know, our marriage is compared to Christ’s relationship to the church. That’s our standard. That’s how holy, that’s how pure, that’s how awesome the connection is. So for us to step out and to break it, it’s committing cosmic treason. Cosmic treason.
I’ve been thinking over the past several weeks, “Okay, why, why, why do I want to be a faithful husband to Lisa? Why?” Well, I don’t want to experience the pain. I’m not into pain. Telling her or maybe she telling me or with our kids, and the ministry here, I cannot even entertain the thought of that. So pain would be a factor in keeping me faithful.
Also, my morals. I’m a moral guy. I have a moral compass. That’s definitely something that keeps me on the straight and narrow marital path. But the more I prayed about it and thought about it, and the more I discussed it with some people I’m very close to and respect, I started thinking of something bigger. I started thinking about something that I’ve never really thought of before, but it was so obvious. It was like—Boom!—whacked me upside the head. There is a motivation in my life, in my marriage that is very positive, that keeps Lisa and I faithful and should keep you faithful too, and I’ll talk about that next time. Okay? That was mean, that was mean, but it’s so involved. Really, I will. I will talk about that next time.
As our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed, I want you to listen to this section of scripture from Proverbs Chapter 5. Just close your eyes and receive this. [Proverbs 5:3-6] “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and smoother than oil is her speech but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of Sheol. She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it. [Proverbs 5:8] Keep your way far from her and do not go near to the door of her house. [Proverbs 5:15-22] Drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well. Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets. Let them be yours alone and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love. For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress and embrace the bosom of a foreigner? For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he watches all his paths. His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin.