Dealing with the fear of infidelity can plague a pastor’s wife. Dear Pastor’s wife, Are you afraid your husband will have an affair? Maybe you get suspicious when he receives call from a woman at an unexpected time or your heart quickens if he lowers his voice as soon as you enter the room. Do you feel uncomfortable when he engages in conversation with certain women in the church? I want you to know that these feelings are not unique to you but they do not have to govern your life or your marriage.
Having a pastor as a husband seems to mean you have signed up for a joint ownership of your spouse with the world. A woman once told me that she can never be a pastor’s wife because she can not stand her husband relating closely with other women. Ironically, this woman has a husband with a job where he undoubtedly relates with women, just as closely. The point is that opportunities for infidelity abound. We don’t have to fear them. Instead, we should master intimacy in our marriages, allow the Holy Spirit to guide each spouse, and pray again the wiles of the enemy in our lives.
The Day Fear Came
Several years ago, I heard the news about a man of God who had just been caught in sexual indiscretion. It was something that had gone on for many years. The scandal burst wide open and the news was now traveling all over the world. I was shocked. “If it was going to be anyone, not this man”, I thought to myself.
I did not realize how much that news had affected me until I started acting out my fears and became extra sensitive, extra cautious, and extra inquisitive. I asked my husband more questions about every call he made; about every counsel he gave that involved a woman. I became a private detective, so to speak. Everything boiled down to this fear that had become lodged at the back of my mind, “If it could happen to this man, then it can happen to anybody.”
God has blessed me with a man who has not given me reason to doubt his faithfulness in our marriage. I cannot take credit for his faithfulness or claim that it is because of my perfection that he has stayed faithful. Even though I have tried my best to satisfy him sexually, I however realize that is not the only thing that keeps a man from committing adultery. There has to be a willingness on the part of the man and both parties have to be on guard against affairs creeping into their marriage.
As a pastor’s wife, you can only do your part. There has to be willingness on the part of your husband. And if you notice any weaknesses, they will need to be addressed and overcome through prayer, counseling and a fervent walk with the Lord.
Ineffective Ways in Dealing with The Fear of Infidelity
Sexual indiscretions happen even in the strictest of settings. You can’t become a watchdog over your husband’s life. Don’t depend on your ability to scrutinize, interrogate, or even scare away the ladies to protect your man. You need peace for your soul. So, do not get yourself worked up in an attempt to make your marriage “affair-proof”. There are things you can do but I want to emphasize first what you should not do: Don’t be fretful, anxious or worried that your husband might be unfaithful. If you find yourself overly worked up about this, remember the words of Paul in Philippians 4: 6-8
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
*** Read my blogpost on stress relief here. ***
Even if your husband was cheating, the solution is not to get worked up over it. You need a clear mind to be able to determine what to do. You also need to know that your life is precious to God. He has a plan and purpose for your life as an individual. He wouldn’t want you harming yourself as a result of someone else’s failings. I read about a woman in Atlanta, Georgia who was driving one day and saw her husband’s car drive by with a woman in the passenger’s seat. She was furious and started to pursue them. In her distraction, she got into a crash with another car and died. That was a total waste of her life. Even if she had confirmed her suspicions, they weren’t worth losing her life over. What an ineffective way in dealing with the fear of infidelity!
Avoid Outbursts of Anger in Dealing with the Fear of Infidelity
In dealing with the fear of infidelity, avoid outbursts of anger. Do not fight all the women in your husband’s ministry or in your church in an attempt to protect him from adultery. It is uncouth and very derogatory to not only the women, but to you as well. Your position is a position of dignity. You should conduct yourself graciously. Also, remember that God loves those women and they are precious to Him as well. Attacking them based on suspicions that may be unfounded or baseless, is not showing grace towards them or even yourself.
If you suspect that someone may have less-than-pure intentions towards your husband, may I suggest the following: start with conversations with your husband about it. Do not approach your husband as if he is already guilty of a crime when you have these conversations. May I also suggest something else that may sound rather radical? Get close to the lady. I have found out that by doing so, one of two things happens: I gain a friend instead of an enemy, or she pulls away from me. In the case of the latter, I am able to warn my husband about her. Either way, I can avoid drama and act still in the love of Christ.
Remember that your husband has the Holy Spirit in him to help him avoid sexual sin just like you have the Holy Spirit in you. Let the Holy Spirit do His job. You cannot be as effective as He is. The Holy Spirit can communicate more clearly and more accurately than you ever can. If you feel your husband is getting careless, speak to the Holy Spirit about it. Be candid in your prayers.
Work Towards Healthy Sexual Intimacy with Your Husband
I Corinthians 7: 2-6 “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection 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 so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Married couples have a responsibility to protect one another by having a healthy sex life. You are not supposed to have sex just out of obligation, but there is a “responsibility component” to it. That means there are times when you may not feel like it, but you will still engage in sexual intimacy with your spouse because you know how important it is in protecting the sanctity of your marriage.
Sex is Not Just for Him, It is for You Too
Even though we often focus on the man, infidelity can happen through either party in a marriage. It could be the woman who becomes unfaithful. In dealing with the fear of infidelity, we have to be conscious of that there are temptations for both men and women to be unfaithful. So, I do not assume that it is just the man that needs to be wary not to cheat on his wife. So, as a woman, you need to encourage your husband to satisfy your sexual appetite as well. If he isn’t doing so currently, talk him through what makes you fulfilled in sexual intimacy. If you need to, do some research to find out what gives women pleasure in bed.
There are various things you can learn about foreplay, sexual positions, female orgasm and so on. You may even consult with a sex therapist. If you don’t like sex, there is a reason why. Invest in getting to the root of the problem. A sex therapist may also be able to educate your husband. If you don’t have access to a sex therapist, other married friends can help. A pastor that you both respect may also be able to help. I know it can be awkward approaching the friend or pastor directly. It is often more effective to go through the wife of the friend or pastor. You will have to set such conversations up prayerfully, and also be candid; you will need to push through the shame to address the issues that you need to resolve.
Talk Candidly About Temptations in Dealing with the Fear of Infidelity
Pay attention to your husband’s vulnerability because of his line of work. Make your relationship a safe space to talk about temptations when they come up. Don’t attack your husband for getting tempted because a temptation that is spoken out but not acted out is better than an indiscretion that will be later regretted. The devil thrives in secrecy. Once the situation is exposed, you can both overcome the situation together.
So, if your husband tells you, “Baby, I am getting attracted to a lady in church.” Instead of making him feel like a sinner, appreciate him for telling you and talk it through. Pray about it. Have more sex, if you are not having it frequently enough, and then check in with him from time to time. However, be wise about this. Don’t ask him so frequently that you begin to bug him about it. Don’t make it the subject of every subsequent conversation. That can become very bothersome and may not necessarily be more effective. Let him feel relieved that he shared his challenges with you. This is major in dealing with the fear of infidelity.
Recovery from Infidelity
I am very sorry if you are dealing with a situation where one of you has been unfaithful. However, it does not have to be the end of that marriage, especially if both parties are willing to work through it. It is very unfortunate and the road to recovery may be a long and hard one, but it is possible. Slowly allow your marriage to heal.
Sometimes we fall into either one of two ditches here: We either pretend it is not a big deal, and rush past the situation in an attempt to regain normalcy in our relationships, or we call it quits and give up on the marriage. I do not think a couple can handle infidelity on their own without an external party. Even if the wronged person feels like they can forgive and move on, I recommend a third party; someone they both respect and can listen to, to help them through the process. This person will serve a few purposes: They will be involved in the process of setting ground rules that will help avoid a repeat occurrence in the future. They will also help to hold both parties accountable to whatever promises they make in the reconciliation process.
Finally, I recommend that this person be someone in a position of spiritual authority over the man and woman so that he or she can cover them in prayer and invoke the help of the Holy Spirit in sealing their marriage against future attacks of the devil. This will also help with dealing with the fear of infidelity in the future.
Make Your Marriage Affair-Proof Through Prayer
Dealing with the fear of infidelity is most effective in prayer. Pray candidly. Do not be afraid to express your heart to God. If you fear your husband is getting careless, say something like, “Lord, I ask you to help me and help my husband. Holy Spirit, I think your boy is getting careless in protecting himself against the wiles of the enemy. Please convict him and give me the wisdom to help in whatever way I can.”
To learn more about mastering fear and walking in faith, watch this message on Differences Between Fear and Faith by KE Hagin.