One does not have to be a pastor or counselor to realize that marital infidelity has now become endemic in our country. In a recent letter to Ann Landers, a man who signed himself as “No Male Chauvinist, Just Observant in the East” asked the columnist’s opinion on his observation that an increasing number of wives cheat on their husbands. She replied, “If you had asked me that 20 years ago, I would have said, “No, I don’t agree.” Today, however, I would have to say you are right. The reason, of course, is that many more women are out there in the workplace. They have more visibility, more mobility, more temptations and greater economic independence. Is the trend toward infidelity going to change? I don’t see how. Cheating on spouses is now an equal-opportunity sport.”*
Such an attempt at humor only underscores how tragic the situation is. It also illustrates how successfully our pagan, amoral media has eroded moral boundaries and eased us into not only accepting but almost expecting adultery as a part of married life.
But the greater tragedy is how infidelity has infected even the church and affected the lives of Christian couples. Pastoral counselors spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to help restore marriages badly disrupted by infidelity. However, there are many more couples who are ashamed to seek outside help and who try to put the pieces together by themselves. Either way, in spite of the high level of spiritual commitment, the results are not always successful. The rising divorce rate among Christians is evidence of that sad fact.
Dave Carder has given us a comprehensive and practical guide for dealing with extramarital affairs. It does not fall into the error of lumping all infidelity together and giving oversimplistic spiritual answers. Without this understanding and diagnosis of what has really happened, the “after-recovery prescription,” through pious-sounding and well-intentioned, will not bring permanent healing and restoration. It is practical because it deals with the daily, gut-level issues both partners face. The heard of the matter is the long, hard task of rebuilding the bridge of trust, and then learning to once again walk on it, to renew that intimacy which is the essence of marriage.
This book, better than any other I know, provides the down-to-earth “how-to’s” to bring that healing about.
David A. Seamands
Professor of Pastoral Ministry
Asbury Theological Seminary
*December 15, 1991. Permission granted by Ann Landers and Creators Syndicate.