Some friends and I were recently out for dinner and were talking about how to guard ourselves from sexual immorality. We were mourning the latest report of a ministry leader who had fallen into sexual sin and spent much of the evening discussing ways to keep ourselves pure.
As that conversation lingered in my mind over the next couple of days, Beth (my wife) texted me a picture of a previously unruly area of our yard that she had weeded, layered with cloth, and covered with an eye-pleasing layer of mulch. At that moment, the absurdity of adultery had never been clearer in my mind.
I need a woman who can mulch. A woman who can offer so much more than sexual gratification. A woman who is building a life together with me.
We’ve been building this life for almost nine years now. We’ve made and are raising four daughters together. We are working hard and saving money for our future. I spend hours under her car when the exhaust clogs up. She keeps my top drawer full of clean underwear and socks. I run to the store for her at 10:00pm when we’ve run out of milk. And when I’m out of town, she takes those heavy bags of mulch I had in my trunk and makes our home more welcoming to our friends and neighbors.
Solomon was right when he said, “The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it” (Proverbs 6:32). It isn’t just that adultery is immoral (though it is); adultery is stupid.
What is fifteen minutes of pleasure compared to a lifetime of companionship, mutual care, and the dirty fingernails of a woman who gives her time and sweat (and back muscles!) to infuse beauty into our home? What kind of senseless fool would throw that away? What dope reduces their life to the fulfillment of sexual desire when there is so much more that only the lifelong, mutual commitment in the covenant of marriage could ever satisfy? The joys of a lifetime of marriage far surpass the second-rate delights that illicit sex promises but never delivers.
I want her to cry into my shoulder when the daily frustrations of raising four girls overwhelms her. I want to ride in the car with her as we take our last daughter to her first day of school. I want her to look into my eyes as we kiss each other goodnight each day and say, “I love you,” without the slightest hint of mistrust. I want to be the one beside her, drying her eyes, as we give our daughters away in marriage. I want to take turns with her swinging our grandchild at the park. I want to get to the end of our lives together, when one of us must leave the other, and stroke her then-wrinkled face with tender, pure affection that she never had reason to doubt had ever been given to someone else.
Oh, I want those things more! I want them so much more than the sweat-drenched cheap thrill of embracing the adulteress. That’s all adultery can offer: bankrupt trysts to satisfy one carnal longing that will arise again before the sheets have cooled. There is no lasting satisfaction in adultery. Those who give in to it are lacking sense; only he who would destroy a lifetime of fulfillment does it.
Sure, marriage is difficult. There are trying days. Patience can run thin. She wonders how I could say something like that. I wonder aloud why she doesn’t understand. Words cut through the skin to the heart. But even in these things, we are able to taste the sweetness of humbling ourselves by the power of the Spirit to be like Jesus and re-dedicate ourselves to putting the other first. We savor the joy of apologies given and forgiveness applied. The bitter bud of disagreement so often blossoms into the sweet flower of reconciliation.
Adultery is stupid. There are greater joys in one lifetime of sweet commitment to one person than a million lives spent chasing sexual satisfaction. Let this greater joy guard your heart.