A Slow Boil
Melanie Chitwood

"Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex." Hebrews 13:4 (MSG)

There's a familiar story about the best way to boil a frog – not something I can imagine needing to know, but it offers a good lesson. The story goes that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, his survival instincts will cause him immediately to detect the danger and he'll quickly jump out. On the other hand, if you put a frog in a pot of cool water and gradually turn the heat up to a boil, he won't recognize the threat until it's too late.

The lesson here for marriage is to be aware of gradual temperature increases. I've heard people say that an affair "just happened." That may be true in the sense that sexual sin often does not start with a blatantly willful act. A more accurate portrayal of marital infidelity would be to say that the attraction and "temperature" gradually increases the more you are around that person. In other words, affairs develop little by little.

A friendly conversation with a workmate moves to flirtatious comments. Perhaps you find yourself wondering if he finds you attractive. You look forward to your next conversation. Your talks move from chit-chat to more intimate emotional matters. The next step might be secret emails, texts, Facebook messages or phone calls. Then, like the boiling frog, you find yourself in the scalding waters of marital infidelity.

What are some safeguards you can establish to protect your marriage from gradual temperature increases? What can help you avoid being in situations that might cause you or your spouse to be tempted to be unfaithful?
Here are a few suggestions:

• Avoid one-on-one time with someone of the opposite sex. If work or ministry put you in this situation, limit the amount of time spent with the other person. Keep in public places. Keep your office door open.

• Avoid friendships with other men, unless the friendship includes your husband. Be aware that many affairs begin as emotionally as a connection of the heart.

• Be careful how you talk about your spouse and with whom you talk. Aim to always present your spouse in the best light. Be careful not to vent about him, especially to another man.

• Give your spouse free access to your "technology." "No secrets" is a good rule of thumb when it comes to Facebook, texts, and emails.

Truthfully, I probably would have thought this devotion was pretty extreme when I had been married only a short time. So if you're thinking that, I understand. However, after nineteen years of marriage, after researching and writing about marriage for years, and after I've seen many Christian marriages fall apart because couples failed to take preventative measures, I assure you, this is wise.

Consider the ideas presented here, pray about this issue, talk to your spouse, and establish healthy safeguards for your marriage. And I pray you never find your relationship in the boiling pot of infidelity or divorce.

Dear Lord, deliver me from temptation. Make me wise in these matters. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from What a Wife Needs from Her Husband by Melanie Chitwood.

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Visit Melanie’s blog “What Matters Most”

Application Steps:
Discuss with your spouse the safeguards suggested here to protect your marriage. Are there any you both want to agree to follow?

Consider being accountability partners with a friend concerning your marriage. Choose someone you trust, someone you can be honest with, and someone who is willing to hold you to God's principles in your marriage.

Do you think the safeguards discussed in this devotion are too extreme?

What safeguards do you have in place?

Do you pray daily for your spouse and marriage?

Power Verses:
1 Corinthians 6:18, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body." (NIV)

Matthew 19:6, "'So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.'" (NIV)

(2010 c) Melanie Chitwood. All Rights Reserved.

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Blogger Linda Ramos said...

Thank you so much for this devotion! I have been slowly watching marriages around me in this situation and have been saddened. This is all a very good reminder since I have often thought..this will never happen to me. I plan to apply these suggestions to my marriage.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a frog that didn't see the threat. I was in the pot of boiling water before I knew it. I found myself in a sexual relationship with my best friends husband. Our families spent time with each other, went on vacations together, spent weekends camping, went to church together, watched each others kids, we did everything together. I never drew the line. Flirting, joking, teasing. They all lead somewhere. I knew there was an attraction but that led to secrecy. The secret phone conversations about our spouses which led to secret meetings which led to the sexual affair.
My story is typical. It played out almost exactly as this blog reads. I never saw this coming. I wasn't looking for this in my life. BUT, the awesome ending to this story is that even through an affair and my betrayal my husband and I are still together. It's been 11 years since the affair and we have put into place a lot of these safeguards on our own. We talk about who we talk to and what we talk about, no secrets. I am especially aware of the relationships I have with other men. My husband is included in those relationships and I would never not have him be. I often include my husband in the emails and texts that are sent to men. Some people may see that as extreme, but it helps us to remain open with each other. Without complete trust and obedience to God we would have never made it through this. I just had to give Him the honor He was due.
I'm still a frog. Just a smarter one that knows how not to even get close to that pot!

Blogger Melanie said...

Wow, Thank you Linda for your heart being in the right place. And thank you anonymous, for sharing your powerful story. God redeems!!! Praising God for your restored marriage!

THANK YOU for sharing this - these have been our marriage guidelines since we first married 27 years ago! Never go out to lunch even with someone of the opposite sex unless there's another workmate with you - never share something about your spouse you haven't already shared together, etc. A couple of friends of ours who found themselves in that pot of boiling water [with others, not each other] both told us that they'd laughed at our 'rules' until it happened to them... very few believers *plan* to have an affair - but satan knows just how to widdle into our lives and we must safeguard our marriages.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have been in that pot. Your statements are right on the mark. This happened at work just the way you said it....friends, flirting, before I realized it I wanted nothing to do with my spouse and this "work romance" continued...thank the Lord it never got to actual sex part...but there was physical contact....just the thought of it makes me sick to my stomach...my husband still does not know about it....I don't think I can ever fess up and I consumes me everyday.....I need prayers please!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories here with all of us! I have only been married for about 3 1/2 years now, but will be showing my husband this post tonight and applying these steps tomorrow! I know this can happen exactly as you all say because even at my young age (27) I have 1 failed marriage behind me and it was filled with nothing but affairs on both sides. In fact, my husband and I started out while I was still in that marriage. Thank GOD that he saves and forgives and teaches us! I do not think any of this is too extreme because you always do extreme things to protect what's most important to you right. If it was being forced by one spouse on the other as a form of control led by jealously that would be different and I think that is what nonbelievers think of our "rules". This is about being firm in applying God into our lives and realizing that satan is out there trying every which way he can to destroy us and us making a plan to prevent it! Thank you for the thoughts and posts!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband has started talking about wanting to see me have sex with another man. I couldn't sleep well last night...God was pulling on my heart, that as much as I don't want to lose my husband or disappoint him, this kind of thinking is not ok & I need to put an end to it. Whatever sleep I did get, I was clenching my teeth & my head is pounding now. Then I read this devotion. God really wants me to put a stop to this kind of talk! I just don't know how to tell my husband.

This is so true! I wish more people really understood it. When I hear someone say, my husband or I would never cheat, I think wow, that's naive. These things are so sneaky that you won't even realize you are in it until it's too late. Thank you for discussing something most want to sweep under the rug because it will never happen to them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with this positing and am in a similar situation. My husband is a Sports Official and has driven alone with other women to work and sporting events in which they were officiating together...I have asked him repeatedly over the years to drive by himself but he has refused. He says he is doing nothing wrong and it is fine with God and with him. I recently lost my composure and emailed another scheduling official asking why they would send a young, single woman alone with a married man, saying I felt it was unethical. It opened up a huge can of worms...Everyone is irate about this situation and my husband has quit officiating this particular sport...I over-stepped my boundaries in going through the wrong channels. I was trying to repair my jealousy and concerns, but it still doesn't repair the heart in this situation. I am at my wits end and feel terrible. Now my husband is completely ignoring me and won’t talk about the situation or to me at all…sigh.

Blogger Unknown said...

It used to bother me when my husband would not log off my facebook when he turned on the computer. He'd look at mine, since we have the same friends mostly, and now I see that it is a way for him to know I'm not talking to other men or anything inappropriate.
No matter if you think your spouse would ever cheat on you...you never know...it doesn't hurt to have safeguards!

Blogger achildoftheking said...

This happened to myself and my husband. He committed adultery in our marriage. He was ready to walk out. God said, "NO" that's not happening and wooped up on my hubby's backside. At the same time HE showed so much mercy and grace. HE delivered me from a life of pain. HE delivered me from Fibromyalgia. HE took away mental/emotional blocks/walls that were built up around me. It's quite complicated. But, if you're there or have been there, you know what I'm talking about. I recommend a book called: "Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It" by Jerry Jenkins [co-authored the left behind series].

Blogger Mary Lou said...

I've just watched my son's marriage unravel, because of many factors and one of them was that she decided that they had a "right" to privacy on phone calls, texting, facebook etc....he said he didn't agree. Much more went into the unraveling...keep putting this out there so that young couples and old couples can see it and be aware of the snares of the enemy and the lukewarm water that slowly heats up.. blessings...

Blogger Melanie said...

Hi friends, Thank you so much for your honesty. Some of you have been through so much, and if we haven't gone through it, there's a good chance we've seen it.

Thank you for affirming it's not too extreme - I don't think it is but sometimes as a writer when you put yourself out there, you feel vulnerable and I have gotten some criticisum via emails...so thanks - smile.

Thank you for sharing the book called Hedges by Jerry Jenkins. I haven't hear of it but will be looking it up.

I don't want this to be a sales pitch but some people might not know that I have two marriage books.

All resources are on sale this week at Proverbs 31, so you might want to get What a Husband Needs from His Wife and What a Wife Needs from Her Husband for yourself and/or friends.

Again, thank you for your stories and I have been praying for each of you, your husbands, your marriages.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if the husband doesn't agree?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's exactly what I'm dealing with...
he "says" he isn't doing anything wrong but my personal opinion is that if we are "one flesh" and I find it uncomfortable then he shouldn't be alone with another woman...I keep praying and I know the LORD is The Faithful One. It's so very painful and I feel like I'm going to die from jealousy, distrust, anger, and heartache. No fun.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and P.S... I am continually praying 1 Peter 3.

Blogger His Darling said...

Wow I've been in that pot and didnt jump out! I was consumed with the thought that I "needed" the attention I was not getting at home.
Your safeguard suggestions are right on the mark. Ladies and gents I encourage you that if you find yourself in any of these jump out with all the strength you have left in you. Run to your first love and then your husband or wife. Be blessed.

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