Ben Wilson is the blogger behind Marriages
Restored. He and his wife Ann have
a ministry for couples who want to rebuild their marriages after infidelity.
This ministry grew out of their own experiences recovering from infidelity in
their own marriage. You can read the stories of Ann’s
affair and of Ben’s
affair on the Marriages Restored site. I recently interviewed Ben via e-mail.
You’ve said on your blog that sex outside of a marriage is not the only kind
of infidelity. What other kinds are there?
In reality one can have an affair
with anything or anybody. Think of things you are passionate about and give
your heart to. If one begins to give aspects
his/her soul that is reserved for marriage over to this person, thing or activity
an affair is taking place.
A classic example is a man whose passion goes into
his work. His wife feels that she isn’t getting the most alive parts of his
heart but doesn’t know how
it or attempts to and is greeted with, "I’m working as hard as I can and
making money so we can have a better life and all you can do is complain." Something
in her says, "Fine. I’ll just pour my energy into the kids." He is
successful at work so that looks good. She is at all the school functions and
involved as a volunteer there and at church too. That looks good, but both
are giving a big piece of their soul elsewhere that was intended for their
On your blog, you mention your emotional affair at least as much as
you mention your wife’s physical affair, if not more. Do you think the two
kinds of affairs
are equal in their destructiveness?
I mention my emotional affair sometimes
just to give my failures and being a mess equal airtime. Affairs generally
don’t happen in a vacuum.
Emotional and physical affairs are both destructive.
I would use different instead of equal or less than etc.
When a couple gets
married they usually vow to forsake all others as long as they both shall live.
I believe that includes both emotionally and physically.
Emotional affairs can
be more difficult to end because the couple rationalizes that since they resisted
having sex they really haven’t done anything wrong.
This is wrong.
In my case, and many people use this language, the other person
and the emotional entanglement works like a drug. There were times following
the revelation of
Ann’s affair that I would talk to my emotional affair partner over the phone.
With the first syllable out of her mouth I would physically feel a chemical
release throughout my body better than any anti-depressant. I instantly felt
I felt her acceptance and not Ann’s rejection. That’s powerful stuff.
a counselor helped me to see the damage I was doing to all three of us in
the relationship. He also helped me to admit that if my partner pursued
aggressively in a physical way I could easily have been right where Ann was.
The damage of emotional affairs seems to be minimized and rationalized away
easier than physical affairs but they are causing incredible damage.
often make the mistake of praying with the other person and denying the physical
attraction. Prayer is more intimate than sex in some ways and
that really deepens the bond.
When ending it, just end it. People tend to try
to want to end it ‘nice.’ When the line is crossed, the line is crossed and
the lingering feelings will stay
in the way of the marriage.
Come back tomorrow to read about Ben’s views on divorce.