Our two main enemies are rationalization and denial. We rationalize when we give acceptable reasons for unacceptable thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Denial is our often intense refusal to recognize the truth about our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Sin can harden our hearts and darken our understanding, turning us away from God. "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
For example, a woman rationalizes that God understood and accepted her numerous affairs because, after all, it was He who created within her this "need for other men." A man lives in denial about his affair, "it's OK, because each time we have sex we end by praying together."
I will briefly list the 12 steps here and in the subsequent post. For a more complete understanding, you will need to read the book, TEMPTATIONS MEN FACE, from which this information is taken.
1. Readiness - The first step is emotional readiness. Something is occurring in a man's life that has him leaning away from the marriage. This is a vulnerable time. He needs to learn to recognize this and turn his energy toward regaining the full health of his marital relationship.
2. Alertness - The second stage in the affair process is a growing awareness of a particular person in our web of relationships. He begins simply by thinking occasionally about the other person. The innocent thoughts turn to fantasy. As she becomes more present in his conscious thoughts, she may begin to appear in dreams and the dreams are often filled with sexual fantasy. Masturbating while fantasizing about her is common.
3. Innocent meeting - Truly innocent, chance meetings, often legitimate business contacts can potentially build the relationship. This is the stage where some flirtations can develop, prolonged eye contact, harmless sounding sexual innuendo, enticing body language, etc.
4. Intentional meeting - Meetings occur frequently which appear to be by chance when in reality one person has acted in such a way as to increase the likelihood of the meeting. He will hang out for extended periods of time hoping for the chance to "surprisingly" meet her. The excitement of sexual attraction overpowers his rational side. At this point, he has entered a real danger zone.
5. Public lingering - The man & the woman now spend time together while in group settings. They will tend to shut others out by turning away from the group and avoiding eye contact with others. Observers know something is happening. However, they would still deny any suggestion that this was more than normal adult relating. The public setting help them to rationalize: "It's fine to focus on her. Nothing can happen. We are with others."
Tomorrow, we will continue our discussion on how affairs happen...