Flirting with someone other than your spouse may seem innocent at first. However, as one small compromise leads to another, you may find yourself doing things you never dreamed you would do. Before you know it, what initially seemed so innocent could get you trapped in an extramarital affair resulting in consequences that are definitely not worth the thrill.
Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. I am convinced that most people who have entered into an affair would never have done so if they had first considered the cost.
So what is the cost of an affair? Here is a list of 14 potential losses you may experience if you continue on with your “innocent flirting”.
1) Loss of yourself
Sexual sin often creates so much shame and embarrassment that people will do anything and everything to avoid getting caught. Even a person with strong character and integrity will enter into a pattern of lies and deceit in an effort to avoid the public shame of such an illicit relationship.
When King David impregnated Bathsheba—a married woman—he began making choices that he had never made before in a reactive effort to conceal his relationship with her. His poor choices even included murder of Bathsheba’s husband!
If you are married and you enter into a relationship with someone else, you likely deep down know what you’re doing is wrong. Why else would you try to conceal your activity?
When you begin doing things you never thought you would do, you may look in the mirror and think thoughts like, “Who am I?” “What have I become?” “I don’t even recognize myself anymore.”
When you no longer recognize yourself, everything else that you once held dear and once considered to be true in your life comes into question.
2) Loss of your relationship with God
If you are a Christian, you know that an extramarital relationship disgusts God. There are dozens of scriptures throughout the Bible that forbid such activity. When you know the truth from the Bible, yet knowingly and intentionally disregard that truth, you create a distance between yourself and your Creator.
When Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eve, they were ashamed of their sinful disobedience to God. When they heard God walking through the garden, what did they immediately do? They went and hid.
The Bible says that nothing will separate you from God’s love, which is still true for those who choose an affair. However, an affair will likely result in an attempt to hide from God since you know He would not be proud of your choices.
3) Loss of your identity
If you are a Christian, your identity should not be based upon what others say or think about you, but rather, based on what God says and thinks about you. When you distance yourself from God, you are in jeopardy of feeling as though your entire identity is shattered. This may affect your sense of purpose in life, which may result in very dark feelings and wondering if life is even worth living.
(A note to those currently in an affair: If you feel as though you are in a dark place right now and wondering whether life is worth living, please hear me on this: YOUR LIFE STILL HAS VALUE! While you may have made poor choices, remember that your identity should still be in what God says and thinks about you. If you feel as though you have lost your identity because of where you find yourself right now, realize that your identity doesn’t change based on how you feel. You are loved. You are cherished. You have a purpose. You have value. If you still have breath in your lungs, God is not done with you yet. More chapters to your story are yet to be written. Turn from your poor decisions, take responsibility for what you have done wrong, get accountability in your life so you don’t go back to your old ways, ask for forgiveness, and learn from your mistakes. You may have had an epic failure, but it can be followed up with an epic recovery.)
4) Loss of your faith
When you have distanced yourself from God, you may begin to question what is right and what is wrong. You will be tempted to believe that your wrongs really aren’t that wrong because you were justified in your choices. When you begin to justify your sin, the entire foundation your faith was built upon may begin to crumble.
5) Loss of your marriage
There are a lot of things you can do wrong in your marriage and still work it out with your spouse. However, infidelity is such an incredible violation of trust that even God condones divorce for such a sin.
IF YOU ARE SINGLE: Be very careful with selecting your spouse. Aside from choosing a relationship with God, choosing your spouse is the 2nd-most important choice you will ever make.
IF YOU ARE MARRIED: You have already made your choice and stated your vows of commitment. If there are things about your spouse you don’t like, then meet with a counselor. You may not, however, try to seek out the missing attributes from your spouse in another person.
6) Loss of your family
Isn’t it interesting that the people who are closest to us are oftentimes those who inflict the most damage upon us? Allowing yourself to enter into a marital affair is an attack against your family. Such an attack may result in your kids and extended family taking steps to protect themselves by placing boundaries around you in order to minimize further damage. While your affair may not feel like it directly involves the rest of your family, it most definitely does. Each of your relationships with your kids and extended family should be considered as part of the loss and collateral damage when you are considering the cost of cheating on your spouse.
7) Loss of your friendships
Your friends may initially try to rally around you to try to win you back. However, if you choose to refuse their advice and continue with your foolishness, they will likely feel like you do not value their opinion or insight. They may feel as though you have changed into a person that they do not recognize either, and your time with them may diminish since they likely don’t respect the choices you are making or the person you are becoming.
8) Loss of your job
If you work in the ministry, such a moral failure will likely cost you your career. Even in other non-ministerial positions, an affair could be considered a PR liability and could cost you your job.
9) Loss of respect
When your affair becomes public knowledge, people who had respected you likely will no longer hold you in a high regard. For men, this is a devastating consequence of an affair considering most men have a greater desire for respect than love. While your word may have meant something to you at one time, people tend to not respect those who don’t honor their word.
If you are married, more than likely you exchanged vows to your spouse during your wedding ceremony. Unfortunately many people view their vows as just a part of the order of events in their ceremony rather than truly viewing them for what they are.
When you make a vow, you are giving your word. Your word should mean something to you. King Solomon said “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”
When you choose not to honor your word, people will no longer respect you.
10) Loss of credibility
People who may have previously sought your advice in their own personal problems may no longer trust your discernment. You will no longer be viewed as a credible person who’s advice is worth implementing or even worth hearing.
11) Loss of admiration
Those who may have viewed you as a mentor may no longer admire you. The greatest form of flattery is imitation, but you likely will no longer have people wanting to imitate you or be like you.
12) Loss of influence
With the loss of respect and admiration, you will likely lose whatever platform of people whom you currently influence. This means you are no longer impacting people around you.
13) Loss of positive memories
When you have sacrificed so many people in your life that you once cherished, you may feel that all of your positive memories are lost along with the relationships you have sacrificed. The memories are still there, but it may feel as though everything has become tainted from your past with the negative impact of your present.
14) Loss of legacy
Your legacy is how your life outlives you. What will you leave behind when you’re time on earth is done? The truth is that everyone wants to know that their life has mattered. Ideally, you can leave this world different and better than how you found it. When you give up your influence on every person in your family, friends and platform, your legacy is severely impacted and diminished.
An affair rarely begins in the bedroom. It usually begins with a wink or a smile. The guy at church pays you a bit more attention than the others. That girl at work comes and sits on your office desk to chat during lunch. One small compromise after another may eventually lead you to a place where you don’t want to be.
Remember our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, and he would love for nothing more than to make a mockery of your marriage.
However, God says you will never face a temptation that doesn’t also have a way out. The best way to avoid experiencing all the losses described above is this:
Recklessly protect your marriage.
If someone flirts with you, don’t flirt back. You might initially feel rude, but it is far better to be perceived as a bit rude compared to all of the other losses you could face.
If you are married, flirting with a friend or coworker may seem like it’s not a big deal, but it is a HUGE deal. You are flirting with disaster. Make the choice to STOP RIGHT NOW. The fleeting excitement is NOT worth risking the cost you may have to pay.
Join the Discussion:
What else do you feel is part of the cost of an affair? Join the discussion in the comment box below.