High school chemistry taught me a very valuable lesson: When certain substances come into close contact, they can form a chemical reaction. I proved that one day during my senior year of high school when I dropped a jar full of pure sodium off a bridge into a river and nearly blew up the bridge! What I’ve learned since then is that many people don’t respect the laws of chemistry any more than I did as a teenager. They mix volatile ingredients without giving much thought to the consequences. I’ve discovered that many married people don’t understand that a chemical reaction can occur with someone other than their spouse. Don’t misunderstand me—I’m not just talking about sexual attraction. I’m referring to a reaction of two hearts, the chemistry of two souls. This is emotional adultery—an intimacy with the opposite sex outside of marriage. Emotional adultery is unfaithfulness of the heart. When two people begin talking of intimate struggles, doubts, or feelings, they may be sharing their souls in a way that God intended exclusively for the marriage relationship. Emotional adultery is friendship with the opposite sex that has progressed too far. I’ve talked with many men and women who have fallen into full-fledged adultery, and I’ve discovered that, in most cases, the adulterous relationships started as a casual relationship at work, school, or even church.
You may be converging on a chemical reaction with another person when:
• You’ve got a need you feel your mate isn’t meeting—a need for attention, approval, or affection.
• You find it easier to unwind with someone other than your spouse by dissecting the day’s difficulties over lunch, coffee, a ride home, or through email or social media.
• You begin to talk about problems you’re having with your spouse.
• You rationalize the “rightness” of this relationship by saying that surely it must be God’s will to talk openly and honestly with a fellow Christian.
• You look forward to being with this person.
• You wonder what you’d do if you didn’t have this friend to talk with.
• You hide the relationship from your spouse.